Photos of Apulia, Italy's far south east, Italy

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Apulia, Italy's far south east

Apulia or Puglia in the extreme south east lies along the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea (or Gulf of Taranto) coasts. The region around Taranto was settled by exiled Spartans during the Greek period. The port city of Brindisi was the end point of the Roman Via Appia, the road that linked the empire. The Normans settled in the region later, as is evidenced by the large Normanesque churches of which the Basilica of San Nicola is a supreme example. Castles from the Swabian King Frederick II are still found in the region as well as the many buildings left by the Spanish.

Street, Alberobello
 
Conical roofs
 
Trulli houses, Alberrobello
 
Town square, Alberrobello
 
Trulli rooftops
 
Trullo of Alberrobello
 
Trulli tourist shops
 
Boulevard, Bari
 
Old inner city
 
In Bari Vecchia
 
View to Duomo
 
On the city walls
 
Tower, Via Venezia
 
Piazza San Nicola
 
Wonder Worker statue
 
San Nicola Treasury
 
Tomb of San Nicola
 
Saint Nicholas' tomb
 
Mass at the tomb
 
Ceiling frescos
 
Saint Nicholas
 
In San Nicola's Basilica
 
In Bari Vecchia
 
Piazza San Nicola
 
Alley in Bari Vecchia
 
Vegetable market
 
Bari cathedral
 
Piazza dell'Odegitria
 
Swabian castle
 
Palazzo del Catapano
 

The little town of Alberobello is in the centre of the Trulli area in the Itria Valley, with their characteristic circular houses with conical roofs. These houses are made from whitewashed stones, put together without mortar and the roofs are made from concentric rows of grey slate, called "chiancarella". Some of the roofs are often topped with pinnacles painted with astrological or religious symbols. Alberobello is now very much a tourist town, but still a unique sight. Now most Trulli houses are used as boutiques, souvenir and wine shops, and the Hotel dei Trulli is a large complex of these unusual dwellings.

The Basilica of San Nicola in the Adriatic port city of Bari was built in the 11th century on the foundations of a Byzantine palace to house the remains of St Nicholas, who had been the bishop of Myra, in Lycia, present day Turkey around 300 CE. When Myra fell to the Muslims, mariners of Bari, who considered him their patron saint, stole half of his remains and took them to their city. St. Nicholas apparently performed many miracles and is also patron saint of travellers, bakers, merchants, and especially children. One of the most popular saints of the Christian church, he is still very much honoured in the Netherlands where men in bishop's robes play the role of a benevolent saint who visits children and gives them presents on 5 December, St. Nicholas eve. Dutch immigrants took this custom to America where "Sinterklaas", as he is called in Dutch, evolved into "Santa Claus". The real saint is well and truly (partly) buried in Bari: his remaining bones were later collected from Myra by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and interred in the Church of St. Nicholas on the Lido, in Venice.