The Land

POLIGNANO A MARE


 

The oldest of Polignano a Mare is located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The old town is one of the most evocative of Polignano a Mare. The old town is perched 24 meters above the sea. The entrance to the village is marked by the imposing “Arco Marchesale” that welcomes visitors along the road leading to the “Piazza dell’Orologio”. Here they overlook buildings like the Governor’s Palace and the “Chiesa Matrice” as well as the former Cathedral. From the square branch off small cobbled streets that lead the visitor in what might be called the symbol of the city, the terraces: it’s overhanging balconies overlooking the Adriatic offering, especially with the play of light at night, breathtaking views turn a walk into a unique experience.

Of particular historical interest are the remains of Roman rule as the bridge of Via Traiana, still viable. At about 3 km north of the city we find the small village of San Vito, bearing the name of the patron saint of Polignano a Mare, celebrated on June 15. Behind the natural harbor, which over the centuries was the favorite destination of foreign populations and invaders, stands the majestic Abbey. According to legend, these shores landed there, in 801, the ship Princess Florenza with the relics of the body of San Vito and his preceptors, Modesto and Crescenza. The monastery is a private little church of Romanesque style well preserved. Another symbolic place is the island of San Paolo which is located about 300 meters from the cliffs of Polignano, in the southern outskirts of the city. The locals is known as “Scoglio dell ‘Eremita” because, according to legend, there would be established a man who had decided to live away from the world. On the top there are the ruins of a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony Abbot (1612) used as a hospital during 1837 to cope with the cholera. On the rock I can still see the ruins of the well to collect rain water and an iron cross fixed by some missionaries in 1901 on the occasion of the centenary celebrations in honor of the patron saint San Vito Martire. You can’t miss the opportunity to photograph this rock that at dusk and dawn, is distinguished by its striking and irresistible charm.