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UNESCO World Heritage sites in Puglia

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Browsing through the long list of World Heritage Sites could be a great way to organize your tour when visiting Apulia (and Italy in general).

UNESCO sites are enchanting, fascinating, and of inestimable value. Being part of the world heritage protects and encourages the preservation of these unique and timeless treasures.


Among the UNESCO sites in Italy, 3 are located in Apulia.



1) Castel del Monte, included in 1996

Castel Del Monte

Located between the municipalities of Andria and Corato (province of Bari), it was built by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century. First and foremost, Castel del Monte is a unique example of medieval military architecture. Perfectly preserved, it can enchant visitors with the rigor of its octagonal plan and shape, the eclecticism of its cultural elements, and the mystery that still surrounds it today.




2) The Trulli of Alberobello, included in 1996


Known worldwide for their exceptional shapes, trulli are prehistoric constructions characterized by circular plants, strictly white dry stone walls, small windows, and conical roofs. The Trulli of Alberobello, which create an entire urban area near Bari, number around 1500, and some are still functional and serving as hotels, restaurants, and shops.




3) The Sassi and the Park of Rupestrian Churches, added in 1993

Grotte della civita

Not far from Bari, the Sassi and its park are located in Matera, precisely in the Basilicata region. The Sassi are technically a rocky settlement perfectly adapted to the context. For over two millennia, they were the center of ancient pastoral communities. The Sassi became part of the World Heritage Site because they show the evolution of a culture that has maintained over time harmonious relationships with the natural environment, and at the same time, they offer visitors a fascinating historical atmosphere and a breathtaking view.



4) The Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, added in 2011

Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo

The San Michele Arcangelo Sanctuary is located in Monte Sant'Angelo, in the province of Foggia. Built in 490 AD, it fell under the Lombard dominion in 650 AD, which transformed it into the main center of worship in the West. More information on the San Michele Arcangelo Sanctuary page.


5) Foresta Umbra Nature Reserve, added in 2017

It is located in the Gargano National Park and extends for about 400 hectares at an altitude of 800 meters. Here you can find the Zappino dello Scorzone, an Aleppo pine over 700 years old, among the largest and oldest in Italy. In the forests of the reserve, there are many yew trees used in the past for the production of bows.


As for the land animals, wolves, hares, squirrels, deer, stags, foxes, badgers, wildcats, small rodents, wild boars, roe deer, and weasels live here.

For those who love birdwatching, during the day you can see the crow, magpie, blackcap, nightingale, robin, woodpecker, sparrowhawk, kite, goshawk, buzzard, and blackbird. At night, the great horned owl, tawny owl, owl, and barn owl appear.



6) Castel Fiorentino in Torremaggiore, added in 2017

It is located in the province of Foggia, a 2-hour drive from Bari: the ruins of an ancient city built ex-nihilo around the year 1,000 by the Byzantine high officer Basilio Baiohannes.



List of UNESCO sites in Puglia:

  • Castel del Monte, added in 1996
  • The Trulli of Alberobello, added in 1996
  • The Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, added in 2011
  • Umbra Forest Nature Reserve, added in 2017
  • Castel Fiorentino in Torremaggiore, added in 2017


Photo Credits: StijnoRIOnLe Grotte della Civita

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