If you are interested in getting lost in narrow, winding streets, Putignano is the town for you: it’s the only historic center of Puglia where you can get totally disoriented.
Beautiful Putignano, known for its Carnival, the oldest one in Europe, is a town less than 40 km from Bari. Located on three hills 375 meters above sea level, which is 18 km away.
It has a population of around 27,000, but its bustling central area gives it the feel of a larger city.
Between Christmas and the start of Lent (usually in February but sometimes as late as March) it is the scene of an extensive program of activities, exhibitions and large-scale street processions.
Surrounded by the main road of the modern city, the historic center consists entirely of narrow streets with a few tiny squares – and the main square (Plebiscito), the heart of the town.
The center holds the Palazzo del Balì, the ancient residence of the Knights of Malta used as a civic museum and part-time art gallery. The Sedile, in front of the building, once home of the University, and the austere Mother Church dedicated to Saint Peter the Apostle.
Outside of the Carnival season, the historic center is rather quiet. It is well populated, but there are hardly any shops, bars or restaurants.
An itinerary of places of worship in the town must include the fourteenth-century Church of Santa Maria la Greca, with a Baroque facade, and the Church of San Domenico, immediately outside the historic center, with the convent and Romanesque bell tower.
To conclude your visit, we recommend a fascinating exploration of the underground areas in the surrounding countryside: here you can visit the hidden Grotta del Trullo, an imposing karst cave embellished with marvelous crystalline formations and a series of alabaster stalactites and stalagmites.