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The big arch overlooking Corso Dante street is the monumental entrance to the historical center of the city of Molfetta. Look up and imagine the awe-inspiring door that was meant to deny access while it revolved noisily on its still visible hinges.
The old city was always a bridge to the East. It was built on an elliptical promontory that influenced urban development. Let’s start our journey from Via Piazza street, the main street, on which there are 7 side streets: narrow and winding to provide shelter from the north wind and hot summer sun in summer. The herringbone-like map, a result of the urban densification over the centuries, has two connection points, one in the Piazza Municipio square and the other in the Duomo di San Corrado[Cathedral of St. Conrad], an old cathedral on the sea and a precious jewel of the Apulian Romanesque architecture.
Along Via Piazza street, the streets are animated by lovely shops where craftsmen can be watched working and where you can buy their products. While glancing around, you will be captivated by the small balconies in wrought iron, niches, reliefs and architectural elements. To the right, from the harmonious facade of the church of St. Andrew, on which stands an elegant rosette wheel, four reliefs of winged faces and the coats of arms of the de Judicibus family, which, as noted on the inscription on the frame inside the simple chapel, created and equipped the Visitation church for himself and his family in the sixteenth century.
A little further, at the intersection with Via Mammoni street, a strange angular sculpture appears, almost like a sphinx, and the exotic name of the street recalls the personification of the God of Mammon money, of Aramaic origin. In words and popular tradition, the Mammons are the monstrous creatures that scared children; you can have fun searching for other ones on the doors of the historical center.
At the end of the street, there is the arch of St. Nicolas, where the frescoes of the Madonna dei Martiri[Our Lady of Martyrs] and of St. Conrad and St. Nicolas of Bari, dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth century, can be admired. The Eastern saint is loved by the people of Molfetta, especially by the smaller ones who receive gifts on the 6th of December. Always down Via Sant’Orsola street, there is the seaside palazziata (small palace) made of the tight theory of the buildings that overlook the sea and that had a defensive function in the past.
Through the Palazzo Galante Gadaleta [Galante Gadaleta Palace] you can access the Torrione Passari [Passari Tower]. It was built in 1512. The fortified stone cylinder overlooking the sea and three guns at the bottom remind people of the city’s defensive needs against the Turks who raged through the Adriatic waters. We go up the flights of stairs that separate us from the top of the Tower where we can finally enjoy a sea breeze and where we can - with one glance - admire the breathtaking landscape of the entire coast of Molfetta.
The Torrione Passari (Passari Tower) is now the seat of contemporary exhibitions. On our walk, the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Principe[Church of St. Mary of the Prince] is worth the stop. It is more commonly known as the church of Death because the Archconfraternity with the same name used to bury their dead there.
Leaving the seventeenth century church, the enchanted fine diamond-shaped rustication and the delightful bas-relief depicting the  Madonna della Tenerezza[Our Lady of Tenderness] are sure to capture your attention because they embellish the facade of the Nesta Palace. Beyond the Aloe Garden, there is the Piazza Municipio square. To the right, there is the Giovene Palace, an exuberant Renaissance building with a door that is very richly decorated. Inside, you can admire the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Civic Siloteca.
To the left, there is a small entrance that allows you to enter the Sala dei Templari [Hall of the Templars], what remains of the church of the powerful monastic order. We suggest you get comfortable and enjoy a fresh drink or homemade ice cream in one of the outdoor locations found on this square; it was once known as the Piazza Castello square, in memory of the fortified structure that once stood here.
Before walking towards the harbor, look over Via San Pietro street to admire the Baroque church having the same name. It captures the contrast of the narrow streets and imposing facades, also because of the sumptuous bell tower made with local stones. The inside, Greek cross-shaped, with a central dome is embellished by refined eighteenth century stucco and lightened by shielded choirs with rounded gratings from which, once, the cloistered nuns attended the ceremonies. Before leaving the historical center behind you, we recommend you venture through the narrow streets to discover beautiful doors, majestic courtyard arches, wells, fountains and, why not, to savor the spirit of a time that still animates these places.
Leaving from Piazza Municipio square once more and along the old city walls, we find the majestic Cathedral on the left and the urban sixteenth century expansion district of the city until we reach the Banchina Seminario [Seminario quay]. There is the Duomo di San Corrado [St. Conrad Cathedral] with its white facades, three domes and two towers.
The tower overlooking the sea was used for sighting and with smoke (during the day) and fire (at night), the presence of threats from the sea would be signaled. From here, you can admire the big basin of the harbor and see, on the opposite side of the cove, the Basilica della Madonna dei Martiri [Basilica of Our Lady of Martyrs] and the adjacent Ospedale dei Crociati [Hospital of the Crusaders]. The name is misleading because the Crusaders never departed from these shores.
ilgrims, traveling towards the Holy Land or to the East and that came to Apulia were welcomed as they passed along the Via Francigena (an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome).
Here, one could stop and rest to recover from the trip and to admire the sunsets that were so often described by Lord Byron, the English Patriot that loved the East. To reach the Ospedale dei Crociati [Hospital of the Crusaders], we continue along the Banchina San Domenico [San Dominic Quay]. The new chocolate factory that prepares extremely good specialties is worth a stop. If you, however, prefer to indulge your palate in salty delights, we advise you to continue along Via Madonna dei Martiri street.The perfume of bread that was baked in a wooden oven and of the Taralli crackers of Apulia, still piping hot, will surprise and guide you inside an exceptional bakery while excellent sandwiches are being prepared in a gracious location on the corner of Via San Francesco d’Assisi street. Take the Viale dei Crociati street and you will see the Basilica della Madonna dei Martiri [Basilica of Our Lady of Martyrs] at the end.
an arab-norman


Gaetano Armenio -

Gaetano Armenio -

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> ''Karol Woityla'' International Airport Bari – Palese
> The main motorway connections A/14 - A/16
> The National Rail System offers you connections from all over Italy

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