An itinerary including some of the region's most celebrated cathedrals and churches.
It was during the Romanesque period that great part of Puglia's most stunning works of architecture were built.
In the years spanning the 11th to 15th centuries, from Capitanata all the way down to Salento, via the province of Bari, fervent construction work took place, resulting in the erection of magnificent houses of worship the majority of which have survived intact over the centuries and continue to attract a steady stream of visitors to this very day.
The sacred mountain
Any self respecting itinerary following the traces of Puglia's Romanesque period has to include a visit to the 13th century Sanctuary of San Michele at Monte S.Angelo, in the province of Foggia.
Considered by Catholics to be one of the four most sacred sites in the world, it was here, on the high Gargano promontory that the Archangel is said to have appeared sometime between 490 and 493 A.D.
In the cave in which it would seem the Archangel made his apparition there is an 11th century altar and a statue of Michael realized by Andrea Sansovino.
Travelling South, towards the high plain of the Murge we come to Canosa, one of the most important archaeological sites in the whole of Puglia, where to find the Basilica of San Sabino, built during the Lombard period by the Duke Arechi II and initially dedicated to Saints John and Paul.
The five-domed cathedral lies three meters below the Piazza via which visitors gain access to the building.
The history of the Basilica of Canosa is a particularly tumultuous one - not only for the damage inflicted on the building by the earthquake of 1851.
Subject of a recent rediscovery, for years Canosa's Basilica of San Sabino had been left off the tourist maps, overshadowed by the nearby cathedrals of Trani, Barletta, Giovinazzo and Bari'''
Cathedral by the sea
Another obligatory port of call is, infact, Trani; where to find one of the best known examples of Puglian Romanesque: the Cathedral erected in honour of S.Nicola Pellegrino.
Trani's magnificent cathedral impresses not only with its size but also for the building's dazzling white stone façade which creates a beautiful contrast with the blue of the nearby sea
The building of the edifice has been dated between 1159 and 1186, whilst it is estimated that construction of the splendid 58,90m. bell tower began in the 13th century, to be completed more than a hundred years later.
Skeletons in the cupboard?
Visitors to Otranto, one of the Salento's most popular tourist destinations, cannot fail but be struck by the city's strikingly beautiful Romanesque Cathedral.
Erected in 1088 - following the conquest by the Normans - it is the largest of all Puglia's churches: 54 meters long and 25 meters wide.
In memory of the ferocious attack inflicted on the city in 1480 by the Turks, the skeletons of some 800 victims were conserved within the cathedral and can still be seen today in the Martyrs Chapel
On the facade of the cathedral there is an immense Gothic-Arabian style rose window dating back to the renaissance period. Perhaps the most impressive features found within the cathedral are the intricately carved capitals depicting eagles with outspread wings, heraldic birds, and lions.
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