What have Alberobello, Castel Del Monte, Basilica of San Michele Arcangelo and Umbra Forest in common? Well, apart from the fact that they are all situated in Puglia, not everyone knows that the four locations are included in the Unesco list as a World Heritage Site.
The natural, cultural and historical beauty of Puglia is often under the eyes of the visitors who every year choose to spend their holiday here. But in this case, the uniqueness of the places is formally certified by Unesco. The identification, protection and transmission to the future generations of the cultural and natural heritage of the whole world are among the main missions of UNESCO.
ALBEROBELLO – Inserted in the Unesco list since 1996, Alberobello is truly unique in the world for its cone-shaped buildings. These are ancient houses with a cone-shaped roof made with exposed stones, built with the “muretto a secco” technique and whitewashed with quicklime. Crosses, pierced hearts and zodiac symbols decorate the top of each trullo.
In the Rione Monti, about 1000 trulli wind through the narrow alleys, among which the “Siamese trulli” stand out, with their original two-cone roof, the Church of Sant’Antonio and the Trullo Sovrano. Do not miss the Territory Museum, housed in a complex of communicating trulli, and the House of Love, today a tourist information point, the first building in the entire town, built with lime and mortar.
CASTEL DEL MONTE – Full of symbolism and unique in its kind, the fortress, in the shape of an octagonal crown, is the expression of the eccentric genius of Frederick II of Swabia, who had it built in a Gothic and Norman style. It is now well known that the recurrence of the number 8, in the form of the rooms and in numerous details, is no a coincidence, which is why the Castle is considered by some to be an esoteric monument.
Located at 540 meters above sea level, on a gentle hill about 20 km from Andria, the manor offers a breathtaking view of the sunset. The fortress, included in the UNESCO list since 1996, was perhaps used as an astronomical observatory or an imposing hunting lodge.
BASILICA DI SAN MICHELE ARCANGELO – Kept within the small town of Monte Sant’Angelo in Foggia, the Basilica of San Michele is a precious testimony of Lombard art in Italy. A staircase carved into the rock leads to the “Grotta sacra”, the place where the Archangel appeared and today a famous pilgrimage destination.
In the Junno district, the oldest part of the village, you get lost in the alleys where you can breathe the scent of the tradition of the typical “stuffed hosts”: sweets stuffed with almonds and honey. Do not miss the visit to the Norman castle, residence of Frederick II, the Tomb of Rotari and the complex of San Francesco. While 8 km from the town, among dozens of hermitages carved into the rock, stands the Abbey of Santa Maria di Pulsano, perched on a spike overlooking the gulf.
UMBRA FOREST – In spite of the name, the beech woods of the Umbra forest, in the heart of the Gargano promontory, have nothing to do with the region of central Italy, but owe their name to the Latin derivation of “umbra”, that means dark and shady.
In the Unesco list since 2017, the area of beech forests, which extends for a perimeter of 399 hectares, is part of a natural heritage of high ecological, historical and cultural value: the majestic plants are among the oldest in Europe and reach a height of almost 50 meters. The site also boasts another prestigious recognition: the inclusion in the list of the five most beautiful woods in the world by the National Geographic magazine.
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