A boat trip is the best way to appreciate Polignano a Mare, one of the finest towns on the Adriatic Coast, whose old centre rises steeply above the sea.
Polignano a Mare has 15.000 inhabitants and is a picturesque Apulian spot enriched by several caves standing along the coast, pounded by the waves of the Adriatic Sea. The history of Polignano a Mare holds its piace in Apulian prehistory with an exceptionally long docuentationwhich begins in the Chipped Stone Age, brought to light in many grottoes.
During Roman times it had no particular importance; subsequent to the year 1 000 it became a Roman conuty, then a marquisate, and was then subjocted to a long series of dominations.
Do not miss the old centre, which is as admirable as a pearl. The mediaeval town is bordered by the bay of the old natural port. From the Arco della Porta we enter Vittorio Emanuele II square.
The Cathedral is consecrated to our Lady of the Assumption in 1295 and was restored several times. The church where Baroque and Renaissance styles are mixed, is embellished by an imposing belltower, and maintains inside an excellent XVIth- century carved wood pulpit, a baptismal font dating back to 1776, an important wood choir from 1161, and the Cript by Stefano di Putignano, carved in calcareous tuta.
In the old centre we can also find the Church of Purgatory, and the former church consecrated to St. Stephan, which has recently been transformed into an art gallery. The old town is filled with mediaeval memories: narrow white streets whose end is either blocked off or suddenly overlooks the sea. In fact there are many places where tourists can enjoy the sea lapping at their feet. The new town was founded on 28th November 1786, after that Frederick the Bourbon approved the pian and it now has many new buildings.
The main local economie activities are agriculture and fruit-and vegetable trade. However tourism is a lifeline for Putignano which is proud of its superb coast and the beaches where it is worth having a swim.
A boat trip is necessary to admire Polignano’s steep cliffs, ricydled with caves upon wh1ch the old centre stands. The Palazzese Cave, now tranformed into a restaurant, is undoubtedly the most characteristic and finest.
The two main caves have a diameter and height equal to 30 metres and correspond to different levels of erosion. Colourful reflections make the caves very picturesque: deep blue-green and other nuances created by the algae growing along the rocks . The caves named after the Seal, Swallows, Pigeons, Nuns, Ardito and Pietrapaola can be reached only by boat.
Three kilometres from Polignano a Mare, on the road to Mola, is the former Abbey consecrated to St. Vi to, located in the place where the Roman Apenester was thought to have been built. !t is a piece of land bardering the sea where there is a crumbling look-out tower. The abbey belonged to the Benedectines of Conversano, then passed into the hands of the Cisternians in 1266.
The church was adjacent to a convent which has been tranformed into modern houses today. Although it has been restored severa! times, this sanctuary with two aisles and a nave covered by three domes, still maintains the original Romanesque style.