Bitonto, Province of Bari, Puglia

The modern town is located on the site of an ancient Messapian center, not far from the Adriatic Sea, about 15 km from the province capital Bari, 8 km away from the international Karol Wojtyla Airport.
It is all surrounded by a never-ending plantation of olive trees, a unique view in Italy, and is well-known today for its production of olive oil, which is considered among the best-quality olive oil in the world.


  • Altitude: 116 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 55,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 70032
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 080
  • Patron Saint: Madonna dell'Immacolata Concezione, celebrated on 26 May
  • Frazioni & Localities: Palombaio, Mariotto, Masseria Cervelli.


The origins of this very ancient town are lost in the mist of time. According to one tradition the name derives from its mythical founder Botone, an Illyric king. Another etymology considers Bitonto as a transformation of the Latin words "bonum totum", and still another theory tells the story of group of Greek refugees coming from the island of Crete after a ruinous earthquake in 1450 BC. In Roman times it was a municipium, and in the Middle Ages was a fiefdom of a number of different families, such as the Caldora, Ventimiglia, Acquaviva and Cordova, until in 1552 the inhabitants redeemed their freedom from the feudal yoke paying the enormous sum of 66,000 ducati. On 26 May 1734 the spaniards of Charles III Bourbon defeated here the Austrians, obtaining the Kingdom of Naples.

What to see

  • The 12th-century Cathedral of San Valentino, with a fine facade subdivided into three parts with three portals, the central in the Gothic style, known as the "Porta della Scomunica", decorated with sculptures with vegetables motifs and bible scenes, four mullioned windows, two above the central portal and one above the 2 side portals. It is divided inside into 3 naves, and contains a wonderful Apulian ambon made by maestro Micolò in 1229.
  • The Museo Diocesano and Pinacoteca "A. Marena", collecting paintings from the 13th to the 18th century
  • The Museo Civico "E. Rogadeo", preserving archeological items found in the area and the Cuonzo donation, including important 19th century paintings by Giuseppe De Nittis (1846-1884) an impressionist painter native of Barletta who lived long in Paris
  • The church of San Francesco d'Assisi, the main Gothic monument in town, built in 1286
  • The Palazzo Vulpano-Sylos, an elegant Renaissance mansion with a portal in the Gothic-Catalan style and fine courtyard surrounded by lodge
  • The 11th century church of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria,, with a mosaic floor
  • in piazza Cavour the round tower, the only remain of the 13th century castle
  • The 17th-century Chiesa del Crocifisso, with a dome in the form of a trullo, all covered with frescos.

Where to stay

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