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Panoramic Spring Cityscape Of Polignano: A Mare Town Of Puglia Region


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Chris Chong



Welcome to Polignano a Mare, a charming town located in the Puglia region of Italy. Famous for its breathtaking panoramic views, picturesque streets, and rich history, Polignano a Mare is a haven for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its stunning coastline, captivating architecture, and delectable cuisine, this hidden gem offers a unique and immersive experience.


Polignano a Mare is renowned for its warm Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal destination throughout the year. From its crystal-clear turquoise waters to its scenic cliffs, this coastal town provides a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and cliff jumping.


Steeped in history, Polignano a Mare has a fascinating past that dates back to ancient times. Founded by the Greeks in the 4th century BC, it has been influenced by various civilizations throughout the centuries, including the Romans, Byzantines, Normans, and Spanish. This rich cultural heritage is evident in its architecture, traditions, and customs.


With its narrow alleys, whitewashed houses, and vibrant squares, exploring the charming streets of Polignano a Mare feels like stepping back in time. The town’s historic center is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets lined with quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants, inviting visitors to savor the local flavors and soak up the authentic atmosphere.


Whether you are seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a relaxing getaway, Polignano a Mare has something for everyone. From wandering through ancient ruins to sampling traditional Puglian dishes, you will find a plethora of experiences to indulge in.


This article will take you on a virtual journey through the history, geography, architecture, cuisine, and attractions of Polignano a Mare. Get ready to discover the hidden treasures of this enchanting town and start planning your adventure in one of Italy’s most captivating destinations.


History of Polignano a Mare

The history of Polignano a Mare can be traced back to ancient times. The town was founded by the Greeks in the 4th century BC and was initially named “Neapolis” which means “new city.” It served as an important center for trading and commerce in the region.


Over the centuries, Polignano a Mare came under the influence of various civilizations, including the Romans, Byzantines, Normans, and Spanish. It was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC and became part of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence is still seen in the ruins of the ancient city walls and the Roman bridge that spans the Lama Monachile gorge.


During the Byzantine era, the town became a fortified center and played a strategic role in the defense of the region. It was during this period that many of the town’s iconic architectural features, such as its defensive towers and castle, were constructed.


In the 11th century, Polignano a Mare came under Norman rule. The Normans made significant contributions to the town’s architecture and culture, leaving behind their mark on several buildings and structures. The Norman influence can be seen in the stunning architecture of the Mother Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which showcases a blend of Romanesque and Byzantine styles.


During the Spanish domination in the 16th century, Polignano a Mare faced a period of decline. However, it still maintained its role as an important maritime center and played a vital role in the commercial activities of the region.


In more recent history, Polignano a Mare witnessed periods of prosperity and development. The town’s economy thrived due to its fishing industry and the export of agricultural products like olive oil and wine. In the 20th century, Polignano a Mare started attracting tourists who were drawn to its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.


Today, Polignano a Mare stands as a testament to its storied past. Its historic buildings, ancient ruins, and cultural traditions offer visitors a glimpse into the town’s fascinating history. As you explore its streets and landmarks, you can’t help but feel the echoes of the past resonating through the present.


Geography and Location

Polignano a Mare is nestled along the stunning Adriatic coastline in the Puglia region of Italy. Its geographical location makes it a remarkable destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The town is perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, providing panoramic views that are downright awe-inspiring.


The town sits on the southeastern coast of Italy, about 33 kilometers south of the region’s capital, Bari. It is conveniently located, making it easily accessible for travelers who wish to explore this enchanting part of Italy.


Polignano a Mare’s landscape is characterized by its rugged cliffs, secluded coves, and picturesque beaches. One of its most iconic natural features is the Lama Monachile, a deep gorge that cuts through the town and leads to a small, sandy beach. This scenic spot is often referred to as the “Cala Porto,” and it is a must-visit for those seeking a tranquil and idyllic seaside retreat.


Surrounding the town, you will find a diverse range of natural beauty. To the north, the Adriatic Sea stretches as far as the eye can see, offering breathtaking sunsets and opportunities for water activities like swimming, snorkeling, and sailing.


Inland from Polignano a Mare, the landscape changes to rolling hills and lush olive groves. These picturesque countryside vistas are an invitation to explore the rural beauty of the Puglia region, with its charming villages, vineyards, and ancient olive trees.


The strategic location of Polignano a Mare also makes it an ideal base for visiting other notable destinations in Puglia. The town is within easy reach of Alberobello, famous for its trulli houses, and the picturesque towns of Ostuni and Martina Franca. The Puglian countryside, known for its beautiful masserie (traditional farmhouses), is also a short drive away.


Whether you prefer to immerse yourself in the azure waters of the Adriatic or set off on a scenic adventure in the Puglian countryside, Polignano a Mare’s geographic location offers the perfect starting point. Its blend of coastal beauty, dramatic cliffs, and proximity to other enchanting destinations make it an exceptional place to experience the wonders of the Puglia region.


Architecture and Landmarks

Polignano a Mare is renowned for its unique and captivating architecture that reflects the town’s rich history and cultural heritage. Walking through its narrow streets, visitors are treated to a visual feast of architectural styles that span centuries. From ancient ruins to medieval structures, Polignano a Mare offers a glimpse into the town’s architectural evolution.


One of the town’s most notable landmarks is the Mother Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Built in the 13th century, this stunning church displays a fusion of architectural styles, including Romanesque and Byzantine influences. Its majestic façade and intricate details make it a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and art lovers.


The historic center of Polignano a Mare is a treasure trove of architectural gems. The town is renowned for its whitewashed houses adorned with colorful balconies and flower-filled windowsills. Walking along the labyrinthine streets, visitors can admire the traditional architectural elements such as stone archways, wrought iron balconies, and ancient doorways.


Perched on a rocky outcrop, the Arco Marchesale is another iconic landmark of Polignano a Mare. This arch was once part of the fortified walls that protected the town. Today, it stands as a testament to its medieval past and offers breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea.


The town’s defensive towers, including the Torre dell’Orologio and the Torre San Benedetto, reveal Polignano a Mare’s strategic importance throughout history. These towers served as lookout points and defensive structures, providing a glimpse into the town’s military past.


One of the most picturesque locations in Polignano a Mare is Lama Monachile, a natural gorge that leads to a pebble beach. Spanning the gorge is the Ponte Lama Monachile, a Roman bridge that dates back to the 16th century. This historic bridge provides a captivating glimpse into the town’s ancient infrastructure.


Revitalized caves transformed into restaurants and bars also dot the coastline of Polignano a Mare, providing a unique dining experience within ancient natural formations.


Beyond its architectural landmarks, Polignano a Mare offers breathtaking vistas of its coastline. The town’s panoramic terraces, such as the Balconata sul Mare and the Terrazza Santo Stefano, provide perfect spots to admire the stunning views and capture memorable photographs.


Immerse yourself in the architectural wonders of Polignano a Mare as you stroll through its charming streets, gazing up at the historic structures that stand as a testament to the town’s rich heritage. The blend of ancient ruins, medieval buildings, and traditional architecture make Polignano a Mare a truly captivating destination for architectural enthusiasts.


Cultural and Historical Significance

Polignano a Mare holds immense cultural and historical significance, as it has been shaped by numerous civilizations and witnessed the passage of time. The town’s rich heritage and traditions contribute to its unique and vibrant identity.


One of the town’s cultural highlights is its vibrant music scene. Polignano a Mare is known as the birthplace of Domenico Modugno, the famous Italian singer and songwriter who wrote the iconic song “Volare.” His legacy is honored with the annual “Volare Festival,” where musicians from all around Italy come to perform and celebrate his contribution to Italian music.


Polignano a Mare’s historical importance is evident in its well-preserved architectural landmarks. The town’s ancient ruins, such as the Roman bridge and the remains of ancient defensive walls, serve as reminders of its historical significance as a strategic outpost in the region.


The town’s historical center offers a delightful glimpse into its cultural heritage. Wandering through its labyrinthine streets, visitors can experience traditional Puglian life and witness the warmth and hospitality of the locals. The town’s main square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, is the beating heart of Polignano a Mare, where locals gather for socializing, events, and celebrations.


Polignano a Mare is also known for its strong connection to the sea. The town’s fishing traditions have been passed down through generations, and fishing continues to play an important role in the local economy. Strolling along the promenade, visitors can observe the colorful fishing boats bobbing in the crystal-clear waters, creating a picturesque scene.


Throughout the year, Polignano a Mare hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals that showcase its rich heritage. The “Festa di San Vito” is a religious festival held in June to honor the town’s patron saint, Saint Vitus. This lively celebration includes processions, fireworks, and traditional music and dance performances.


Another important event is the “Calici di Stelle,” which takes place in August. This wine festival celebrates the Puglian wine tradition, allowing visitors to taste fine local wines while enjoying live music and entertainment under the starry sky.


Polignano a Mare’s cultural and historical significance is deeply ingrained in its people, traditions, and way of life. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the town’s rich heritage and experience the authentic spirit of Polignano a Mare through its cultural events, bustling piazzas, and warm hospitality.


Natural Beauty and Surroundings

Polignano a Mare is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty that captivates visitors from near and far. From stunning coastal cliffs to hidden caves and pristine beaches, the town offers a diverse range of landscapes to explore and admire.


The dramatic coastline of Polignano a Mare is one of its most mesmerizing features. The town is perched on cliffs that offer panoramic views of the azure Adriatic Sea. The rugged cliffs, with their sheer drops and jagged edges, create a stunning contrast against the sparkling blue waters.


One of the most iconic natural attractions in Polignano a Mare is the Lama Monachile, a deep and narrow gorge that cuts through the town and leads to a small pebble beach. This natural wonder is often referred to as the “Cala Porto” and is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and cliff jumping.


Polignano a Mare is also renowned for its impressive sea caves. Along the coastline, there are several caves that have been carved out by centuries of erosive forces. One of the most famous is the Grotta Palazzese, a cave that houses a stunning restaurant. Dining within the cave offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience.


The town is surrounded by picturesque countryside, characterized by rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards. Exploring the Puglian countryside around Polignano a Mare allows visitors to indulge in the tranquility and natural beauty of the region. Scenic walks and bike rides are popular activities to immerse oneself in the peaceful surroundings.


Within a short distance from Polignano a Mare lies the Alta Murgia National Park, a vast protected area that spans over 68,000 hectares. This untouched wilderness is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the unique karst landscape.


The region of Puglia is also known for its impressive olive groves, and Polignano a Mare is no exception. The countryside surrounding the town is dotted with ancient olive trees, some of which are hundreds of years old. The sight of these majestic trees, with their gnarled trunks and silver-grey leaves, adds to the natural allure of the region.


Polignano a Mare’s natural beauty and surroundings provide endless opportunities for exploration and awe-inspiring experiences. Whether you are seeking the thrill of plunging into the crystalline waters, gazing at stunning coastal vistas, or immersing yourself in the tranquility of the countryside, this picturesque town has it all.


Cuisine and Local Delicacies

Polignano a Mare is a paradise for food lovers, offering a mouthwatering array of traditional Puglian cuisine. The town’s coastal location not only provides an abundance of fresh seafood but also influences the local culinary traditions.


Seafood plays a starring role in Polignano a Mare’s gastronomy. The town’s restaurants serve up a wide variety of dishes showcasing the bounty of the Adriatic Sea. From succulent grilled fish, such as branzino and sea bream, to flavorful shrimp and octopus, seafood enthusiasts will be in heaven.


Puglia is world-renowned for its pasta, and Polignano a Mare is no exception. Orecchiette, a small ear-shaped pasta, is a local favorite and is often served with a rich tomato and meat sauce known as ragù. This simple yet hearty dish showcases the authentic flavors of the region.


Another beloved delicacy in Polignano a Mare is the panzerotto. Similar to a small calzone, the panzerotto is a fried or baked pastry filled with a combination of tomato, mozzarella, and sometimes other ingredients like olives or capers. These savory treats are a popular street food that can be enjoyed on-the-go.


One cannot visit Polignano a Mare without sampling its famous gelato. Gelato shops dot the town, offering an array of flavors that range from classic options like pistachio and hazelnut to more adventurous selections like fig and almond. Indulging in a scoop of gelato while strolling along the promenade is a delightful way to cool off on a warm day.


Polignano a Mare is also known for its excellent olive oil. Puglia is the largest producer of olive oil in Italy, and the region’s distinct olive varieties yield exquisite oils. Visitors can sample and purchase locally-produced olive oil, which makes for a tasty and authentic souvenir.


Wine enthusiasts will also be pleased to discover the quality wines produced in the Puglia region. Primitivo and Negroamaro are two grape varieties that thrive in the region’s climate, producing robust and full-bodied red wines. Pairing a glass of Puglian wine with a delectable seafood dish is a true delight.


When dining in Polignano a Mare, don’t forget to leave room for dolci, or desserts. Traditional Puglian sweets like pasticciotto, a pastry filled with custard, and cartellate, fried dough drizzled with honey, are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.


Exploring the culinary delights of Polignano a Mare is an essential part of experiencing the town’s culture and traditions. From the fresh flavors of the sea to the comfort of handmade pasta and the indulgence of gelato, the local cuisine will leave you wanting more.


Activities and Attractions

Polignano a Mare offers a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, this charming town has something to offer everyone.


One of the main attractions of Polignano a Mare is its stunning coastline. The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea provide the perfect setting for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Exploring the underwater world and discovering the vibrant marine life is a must for water enthusiasts.


For thrill-seekers, cliff jumping is a popular activity in Polignano a Mare. The town’s cliffs offer the adrenaline rush of leaping into the crystal-clear waters below. There are designated jumping spots for various levels of experience, ensuring a safe and exhilarating experience.


Exploring the sea caves along the coastline is another exciting activity. Boat tours are available, allowing visitors to navigate the caves and marvel at their natural beauty. Some tours even offer the opportunity to snorkel inside the caves, providing a unique perspective of these mesmerizing formations.


For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, taking a leisurely stroll along the scenic promenade is a delightful way to soak in the coastal charm of Polignano a Mare. The panoramic views of the sea and the picturesque cliffside town create a picture-perfect backdrop for a leisurely walk.


Polignano a Mare is also home to several museums and art galleries that showcase the town’s cultural heritage. The Pino Pascali Museum Foundation, located in a restored 18th-century palace, houses a contemporary art collection that pays homage to the renowned local artist Pino Pascali.


Exploring the town’s historic center is like stepping back in time. The narrow, winding streets are lined with charming shops, art galleries, and cafes, inviting visitors to wander and discover hidden gems at every turn. The vibrant atmosphere and the warm hospitality of the locals add to the allure of the town.


For a truly unique dining experience, make sure to visit the Grotta Palazzese, a restaurant housed inside a natural sea cave. Enjoying a delicious meal while surrounded by ancient rock formations and the sound of the waves crashing against the cave walls is an unforgettable experience.


Polignano a Mare is also an excellent base for exploring other nearby attractions. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello, famous for its enchanting trulli houses, is a short drive away. The beautiful towns of Ostuni and Martina Franca are also easily accessible and offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.


Whether you prefer action-packed adventures or leisurely exploration, Polignano a Mare has a wealth of activities and attractions to keep you entertained. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty, indulge in the local cuisine, and uncover the fascinating history and traditions of this captivating town.


Local Festivals and Events

Polignano a Mare is a town that knows how to celebrate. Throughout the year, various festivals and events take place, showcasing the town’s rich heritage, culture, and traditions. These lively gatherings offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of Polignano a Mare and experience the authentic spirit of the town.


One of the most anticipated events in Polignano a Mare is the “Volare Festival,” which pays tribute to Domenico Modugno, the famous Italian singer and songwriter born in the town. Held in August, this festival features a series of concerts, theatrical performances, and exhibitions, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display. The event attracts music enthusiasts from far and wide, celebrating Modugno’s contributions to Italian music.


The “Festa di San Vito” is an important religious festival that takes place in June. It is dedicated to Polignano a Mare’s patron saint, Saint Vitus. The festivities include processions through the streets, religious ceremonies, traditional music and dance performances, and a spectacular fireworks show. The celebration is a true display of the town’s deep-rooted faith and cultural heritage.


Throughout the summer months, Polignano a Mare hosts the “Calici di Stelle” wine festival, coinciding with the Perseid meteor shower. Held in August, the festival celebrates the region’s winemaking tradition. Visitors can sample a variety of local wines while enjoying live music, cultural performances, and gastronomic delights. The enchanting combination of wine, music, and the starry night sky creates an unforgettable experience.


Another highlight of the local festival calendar is the “Festival della Carne,” a festival dedicated to meat. Held in September, this event showcases the culinary delights and traditional dishes of the region, centered around local meats such as lamb, beef, and pork. Visitors can indulge in mouthwatering barbecues, delicious recipes, and traditional food tastings.


For those interested in sports, Polignano a Mare hosts the “Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.” This prestigious event attracts professional divers from around the world who compete in jaw-dropping cliff diving competitions. Held at the spectacular Lama Monachile gorge, the event combines adrenaline-pumping action with the captivating beauty of the town’s natural surroundings.


In addition to these annual festivals, Polignano a Mare also celebrates religious holidays such as Easter with processions and celebrations. The town is known for its rich Catholic traditions, with various ceremonies and events held throughout the year.


Attending a local festival or event in Polignano a Mare is a wonderful way to experience the town’s vibrant culture and joyful spirit. It provides an opportunity to connect with the local community, witness traditional rituals, and celebrate alongside the residents. These festivities create lasting memories and offer a deeper understanding of the town’s cultural significance.


Getting to Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is located in the Puglia region of Italy and is easily accessible by various modes of transportation. Whether you’re arriving from within the country or from abroad, there are several convenient options to reach this charming coastal town.


If you are traveling by air, the nearest international airport is Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport, located approximately 48 kilometers northwest of Polignano a Mare. From the airport, you have the option to rent a car, take a taxi, or utilize public transportation to reach the town. The journey takes around 45 minutes by car and a bit longer by train or bus.


The train is a popular means of transportation in Italy, and Polignano a Mare is well-connected to the national rail network. The town has its own train station, making it easy to reach from major cities like Bari, Naples, and Rome. The train journey provides scenic views of the Italian countryside and adds to the overall experience of traveling to Polignano a Mare.


Another way to reach Polignano a Mare is by bus. There are regular bus services that connect the town with nearby cities and towns, including Bari. The bus network in Italy is extensive, providing a convenient and affordable option for travelers.


If you prefer the flexibility of driving, renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the Puglia region at your own pace. Polignano a Mare is well-connected to major roads, and navigating within the town and its surroundings is relatively straightforward. Just keep in mind that parking can be limited in the historic center, so it’s best to check with your accommodation for parking options.


For those seeking a more unique and memorable journey, arriving by boat is also an option. Polignano a Mare has a small marina that can accommodate private boats. If you’re planning to sail along the Adriatic coast or exploring nearby islands, docking in Polignano a Mare allows you to experience the town’s coastal charm firsthand.


Once you have arrived in Polignano a Mare, getting around the town itself is best done on foot. The historic center is compact and pedestrian-friendly, allowing you to explore the narrow streets and discover hidden treasures on foot. Bicycles are also a popular way to get around, and many accommodations offer bike rentals for visitors to enjoy the town and its surroundings at a leisurely pace.


Getting to Polignano a Mare is a straightforward and enjoyable process, whether you choose to arrive by air, train, bus, car, or even by boat. Whichever mode of transportation you select, the journey to this coastal gem will set the stage for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Puglia.


Accommodation Options

Polignano a Mare offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget. From luxury hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts and charming apartments, there is something for everyone in this picturesque coastal town.


If you are looking for a luxurious and pampering experience, you’ll find several upscale hotels in Polignano a Mare that offer stunning views, elegant rooms, and top-notch amenities. These hotels often boast amenities such as swimming pools, spas, and gourmet restaurants, providing an indulgent stay for guests seeking a touch of luxury.


For those seeking a more intimate and personalized experience, bed and breakfasts are a popular choice in Polignano a Mare. These charming accommodations are often located within the historic center, offering easy access to the town’s main attractions. With comfortable rooms and friendly hosts, bed and breakfasts provide a warm and homely atmosphere for guests.


Another option for staying in Polignano a Mare is to rent an apartment or a holiday home. This is a great option for families or groups of friends who prefer the convenience and privacy of their own space. Many apartments are situated within walking distance of the beach or the town center, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere.


For budget-conscious travelers, there are several guesthouses and budget hotels available in Polignano a Mare. These accommodations offer affordable rates without compromising on comfort. While they may not have the same luxurious amenities as high-end hotels, they provide a comfortable and convenient base for exploring the town and its surroundings.


No matter which type of accommodation you choose, one thing is for sure – the scenic beauty of Polignano a Mare is never far away. Many accommodations offer breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea or are located just steps away from the picturesque streets and stunning cliffs.


It’s worth noting that during peak tourist seasons, such as the summer months, booking in advance is highly recommended to secure your preferred accommodation. With its rising popularity, Polignano a Mare has become a sought-after destination, so it’s best to plan and book ahead to ensure a pleasant and seamless vacation experience.


Whether you are seeking luxury, charm, or affordability, Polignano a Mare has accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs. Whichever you choose, you’ll find yourself immersed in the beauty of this coastal town and its warm hospitality, ensuring a memorable stay in the heart of Puglia.



Polignano a Mare is a hidden gem that embodies the beauty and charm of the Puglia region. With its breathtaking panoramic views, rich history, and warm Mediterranean hospitality, this coastal town offers a unique and immersive experience for travelers.


From its ancient ruins and medieval architecture to its vibrant cultural events and mouthwatering cuisine, Polignano a Mare showcases the perfect blend of past and present. Exploring the narrow streets of the historic center, savoring traditional Puglian dishes, and immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the coastline are just a few of the memorable experiences that await.


Whether you come for adventure or relaxation, Polignano a Mare offers a wide range of activities to suit every taste. Dive into the crystal-clear waters, explore the sea caves, or simply unwind on the pristine beaches. Engage in the town’s lively festivities, taste the flavors of local cuisine, and discover the cultural and historical significance that permeates every corner.


With its convenient location, Polignano a Mare also serves as a gateway to the wonders of the Puglia region. Take day trips to neighboring destinations like Alberobello or explore the idyllic countryside dotted with olive groves and vineyards.


Polignano a Mare leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. Its natural beauty, captivating architecture, and warm atmosphere create an enchanting destination that captures the hearts of travelers. Whether you come for a short visit or an extended stay, the memories and experiences gained from exploring this coastal town will be treasured for a lifetime.


So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscape, indulge in the flavors of local cuisine, and let Polignano a Mare captivate you with its allure. Discover the charm, history, and natural wonders of this hidden gem on the Adriatic coast and embark on an adventure you will never forget.