It’s a medieval old town in the southern Italy, not far from Bari.
It’s that that kind of city with houses build into limestone cliffs and caves high above the deep blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.
The sea here has an amazing blue color.
Because we rented a car for the entire stay, we had the possibility to visit the entire area. Initially Polignano a Mare wasn’t on our list, but I was so happy that we managed to see it.
After an Italian breakfast in Alberobello and a short walk around, we drove to Polignano a Mare.
How to get there?
The city is very close to Bari, so from here you can take:
- Train – which leaves from Bari Centrale directly to Polignano a Mare. The average journey time between them is 29 minutes. The journey may be longer on weekends and holidays. The cost of a ticket is about 2.5 Euro
- Car – the distance from Bari to Polignano a Mare is only 33 km, so, in about 30 min, you could reach the city.
To rent a car in Italy is not that expensive. It is starting with 20 Eur/day. But it is a pledge that has to be made. In our case, they asked us 1,000 Euro.
Once we arrived in the city we started to walk to the city center.
The origins of this enchanting place date back to the 4th century BC when Greek settlers founded the city of Neapolis. It flourished under the Romans and was important enough for Emperor Trajan to direct his Via Traiana, built between 108-110 AD, through the town. All these are gone now, only the Roman Gate, The Arco Marchesale, and bridge Lama Monachile stand still.
Polignano a Mare means an old town with narrow streets, paved with stone-colored (slippery when it rains), several old, but well-maintained churches, squares, and houses with entrance from the street. It’s funny that people sit with the door open, just a curtain separating the living room from the street. You hear them talk, but you don’t see them.
Where to stay?
There are different ranges of accommodation that you can find in Polignano a Mare. Some of them with an impressive view over the Adriatic Sea.
It is a perfect way to start your morning with an Italian breakfast, on a balcony in a cliff building, with a view over the Sea.
What can you do?
Well, Polignano a Mare is that kind of town where you don’t chase the touristic attraction. This area of Italy is beautiful to see and to feel. The city is spectacular because of the urban panoramas, walls and whitewashed houses that fall vertically into the sea.
- The 12 panoramic views over the Adriatic Sea
The main attractions of the city are the 12 panoramic points or “balcony Sul Mare”, places where the Adriatic Sea can be admired in all her splendor, both during the day and night.
From here you can see also few caves dug into the rock by the sea waves.
In summer, in Polignano a Mare, you can take boat trips to visit some famous surroundings caves like Ardito, Stalattitica and della Foca, in which presumably traces of human existence dating from Paleolithic were found.
- Spiaggia Cala Porto.
This beach is right in the center of Polignano a Mare with white pebbles instead of sand, making it sparkly and more interesting. It is also known as “Lama Monachile” after the bridge that you must walk across to reach it. It is picturesque, wedged between the white buildings of Polignano and the Azure Sea. Convenient and easily accessible, with the services, cafes, and restaurants of the town just steps away.
The time that we went on the beach, there were many young people there having picnics.
They were coming with same big brown paper bags with food.
It looked like this is a way to spend some time in this parts.
- Have an amazing Italian ice-cream
We all know about Italian ice-cream, right?! It is really amazing.
You should try one, we surely couldn’t miss it.
- Try a charming cave restaurant
If you want a unique gastronomic experience you should definitely get a reservation at Grotta Palazzese restaurant.
It is the main reason why I wanted to visit Polignano a Mare, but unfortunately, it was closed for renovation and was only opening on March 16.
The restaurant is in a limestone cave overlooking the sea and is open only during the summer months. If you want to stay in a luxurious room in the heart of the old city, the hotel Grotta Palazzese, located above the restaurant, is available all year round.
The restaurant is an exclusive and romantic one. The bright and flickering lights reflected in the sea, with wooden floors and simple furnishings are perfectly framed into the textured limestone cave. Tables are positioned so that no matter where you stay, the view is spectacular.
It’s a place you must try!
- Have a walk on LungoMare
Lungomare Domenico Modugno is a cliff named after the Italian songwriter famous for his “Volare” song. I’m sure you all know it. It’s a classic.
Since Polignano a Mare is the birthplace of Domenico Modugno, he became a symbol of the city and the bronze statue, an interesting attraction by the sea.
- Red Bull Cliff Diving contest
Maybe it would be interesting to know that, since 2010, Polignano a Mare was introduced in Red Bull Cliff Diving circuit, an international competition of jumping into the sea from a great height. It takes place exactly in the bay of Cala Porto, where it some special trampolines are installed, with heights of 21 or 27 m above the sea level.
Throughout the competition, the small town is invaded by tens of thousands of tourists and is virtually impossible to find any available accommodation place.
What to eat?
I personally think that Puglia region would not be the same without its unique food and wine. The beauty of Puglia is the variety of dishes, wines, and culinary traditions. Puglia is a region having many different dominations (from the Spanish to the French, the Turks, the Greeks etc.,) that have influenced not just the architecture and language but also the cuisine and wines. From town to town, even just a few kilometers apart, culinary traditions and wines can change completely.
Polignano a Mare is a fantastic place to go to if you like seafood. Polignano is now a bit more touristy, but still, it has lots of charm. Here you can find a strong culture of eating raw seafood (from shrimps to calamari and sea urchins etc.,).Finally, the tiella, made with rice, potatoes, and mussels is a typical dish from the Bari area, which is also made in the rest of the region.