The name Monopoli derives from the Greek words - Monos
– that mean the only town. Definition that is still true. It is a unique town indeed. In fact, it preserves an undamaged charm that derives from its history and traditions; nowadays the charm is renovated thanks to the vitality of its activities- agriculture, industry, fishing- and tourism as well. It has 50.000 inhabitants nearly, settled on the Adriatic coast, on the southeast it’s 43 km far from Bari. It is twinned with Lugoj (Romania) and Lyss (Svizzera). It is linked with – Polignano a Mare and Conversano on the north -west; Castellana Grotte on the south-west, Alberobello on the south and Fasano on the south east. It is placed on a 156 kilometers area from the seaside to the hills. It reaches 408 metres (upon the sea level) and it stretches along 15 km of flat and ragged coastline with various creeks and long sandy beaches. Its coat of arms consists of three white roses above the red background by which Frederick the IInd from Sweden awarded the town thanks to its loyalty during Gualtieri di Brienna siege in 1207.
There are fifty thousand inhabitants in Monopoli, distributed also among the 99 populous contrade which the countryside is divided in. A thousand- year sweep of olive trees fringes the urban centre up to Murgia hills step. The ancient inhabited core stretches along a strip of land towards the sea. The castle of Charles the fifth has garrisoned the water access since 1552 and pointed some cannons to the built-up area too. Four great towers complete the town fortification from which the 19th century cannons stick out. The steeples and the baroque domes stand over the houses, giving in only to the Cathedral Basilica, symbol of the XVIIIth century splendour, symbol of clergymen and high classes’ opulence. The temple treasures an icon of Madonna della Madia that landed on a beam-made raft in 1117, according to the tradition. Among a conspicuous works of the outstanding inside, two paintings from Jacopo de Palma il Giovane. It’s worth noting: S. Michele the Archangel and the demon and Madonna in Gloria with SS Rocco and Sebastiano. Across the maze of winding streets you can find courtyards called chiassi where houses look out onto. The airy Palmieri Square opens wide in a central position. Here, the elegant façade of the homonymous building dated to the end of XVIIth century stands out. The church of S. Domenico excites for the well- carved rose window and the sculptures by Stefano da Putignano: Christ crowned with thorns, S. Domenico and Madonna Enthroned. From the apses of Santa Maria degli Amalfitani the sculpures and its architecture give a meaningful example of Apulian Romanesque. Vittorio Emanuele garden square connects the old town with the perpendicular streets of the Murat period buildings.