A history-steeped harbour town just south of Bari
Monopoli watches over the Adriatic Sea from its spot on the north-east coast of Puglia. In fact, that’s exactly what the town was designed for – protecting the region’s harbours and farmland from marauding pirates.
Clues to Monopoli’s protective past pop up all over the old town. A walled coastline and castle-topped harbour clutch a labyrinth of narrow streets. This is also where you’ll find a knot of must-sees – the 12th-century Monopoli Cathedral, newly renovated Palmieri Palace and sea-view Carlo V Castle.
The Lungomare Santamaria promenade skirts the town centre, zigzagging past tiny beaches and bastions with wall-to-wall Adriatic views. The skinny streets spread out as they trail out of the city centre. They lead to the surrounding countryside, where traditional masseria (fortified farmhouses) hide away between olive groves and Primitivo vineyards.
Bari, the port capital of Puglia, is within easy reach, too. It’s just an hour’s drive – or half-hour train ride – north.
Flights to Puglia take around 3 hours from the UK.
Transfer time from Bari airport to Monopoli is approximately 50 minutes.
Nestled right in the far south of Italy, Puglia has a balmy Mediterranean climate, with warm springs and autumns that see temperatures in the 20s well into October. Head here in the summer and you can expect plenty of beach-perfect days – blue skies, sunshine and temperatures nudging 30°C.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.