Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Apulia, Puglia in Italian, is made up of the heel of the boot of Italy, or the Salento peninsular, and stretching further inland up the east coast of Italy. An arid area, with only a few torrential rivers, it is the least mountainous region in Italy. But, it is one of the richest archaeological areas in the country; the region has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Provinces in Puglia are: Bari, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce and Taranto.

Archaeology & History Sites in Puglia

Alberobello Monumental Cemetery

Built in 1887, the monumental entrance to the city of Alberobello’s cemetery was inspired by funerary architecture of ancient Egypt. What you see today, however, is only a portion of what was planned. Lack of funds prevented the ambitious project being completed. The entrance hall with its 12 columns, the capitals given a typical ancient look of lotus flowers, are flanked by two chapels. Various architectural features are highly decorated with ancient Egyptian iconography.

Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte, or ‘Castle of the Mountain’, with its wall of 25 metres high was once part of a more elaborate citadel built by Emperor Frederick II in the mid 13th century. That curtain wall has not survived and all that remains is an octagonal castle 56 metres in diameter, with eight octagonal towers. Often described as one of Frederick’s more fascinating castles – with a unique blend of Classical and Islamic features, it was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1996 and appears on the Italian one-cent euro coin.

Chiesa d'Ognissanti - Church of All Saints

Various documents suggest that he church was founded in the 12th century. But the Romanesque sculptural elements for which the church is well known, are thought to have been added in the following century. The church has been associated with the Templars, thought to have been built inside their hospital, despite well established evidence that the Templars were in Trani, there is no evidence that they built this church. The church was, however, a place of blessing for Crusaders departing Trani for the Holy Land.

Norman Swabian Castle of Gioia del Colle

The imposing castle in the historic centre of the town was built for defence by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, on his return from the Fourth Crusade to the Holy Land. It is typical of his style: a roughly quadrangular structure, impressive curtain walls surrounding an inner inner courtyard and imposing corner towers. Despite alterations of the following centuries, as Puglia changed hands, the interior is well preserved and includes the throne room. Today the castle houses a National Archaeological Museum; entry to both the castle and the museum only requires one ticket.


La Città Bianca, or the white city, is a citadel town still surrounded by medieval fortifications, the walls and houses of which are still regularly whitewashed to give the town its eye-catching appearance for miles around. Occupation of the hill stretches back to the Stone Age, burials from caves on the hill excavated by archaeologists can be seen in the museum. Otherwise it is Ostuni’s Baroque heritage that attracts tourists today; including beautifully decorated palazzi and a cathedral and Bishop’s Palace.

Museums & Art Galleries in Puglia

National Archaeological Museum of Gioia del Colle

Housed in a Norman-Swabian castle, the archaeology museum was established in in 1977 to display the artefacts recovered during excavations of the ancient town of Monte Sannace. This collection has since been joined by artefacts from other sites in the region. The collection is know for the domestic and funerary vessels, ref-figure ceramics typical of those associated with Magna Grecia. As well as ceramics of indigenous Peucetian communities. One highlight of this collection is a 4th century Apulian krater.

National Archaeology Museum of Taranto

Founded in the 19th century, with a major renovation ending in 2016, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Taranto is one of the finest national museums in Italy. Beautifully displayed is an astonishing collection of artefacts, from Palaeolithic figurines found in nearby caves to numerous artefacts from the Roman period of the area. For anyone interested in the subject of Magna Grecia, and the colonisation of Italy by the Greeks, the collection of Apulian ceramics is truly spectacular and will not disappoint!