Europe, Instagram, Italy, Monopoli

Instagramming Monopoli … and That Puglia Feeling.

February 27, 2014
Monopoli Streets

It was β€œwinter” in Puglia. A warm, bright, sunny afternoon which required nothing more than a light jacket and a pair of sunglasses. No hats, scarves, gloves, boots or down-filled coats were needed. It was the antithesis of Toronto, which was gripped in yet another chilling polar vortex.

Puglia With Southern Visions

Driving through a rural area, we stopped to take a look at a typical farm in the Puglian countryside. Olive trees dotted the landscape, complemented by low-lying vegetables whose appetizing, fresh scent filled the air we breathed. The farms were surrounded by low stone walls that had been there for centuries. It was quiet, no one was around except for a handful of workers tending their crops.

Puglia Olive Trees

That Puglia Feeling

It was perfect. An ideal image for a postcard or a movie set. This was the Italy everyone dreams of seeing, the one that everyone pictures. This was when I began to understand Puglia, to experience “that Puglia feeling” as I’ve come to call it.

In that moment, I had a rush of emotions. Happiness to be in that place, at that time. Re-emerging affection for the country that I’ve visited more than any other in the world. Melancholy, as my trip suddenly seemed too short and I didn’t want to ever leave. Excitement at discovering a new region I’d never visited.

Puglia Olive Trees

Getting to Know Monopoli

Leaving the countryside behind, we continued our journey to visit the seaside town of Monopoli.

Monopoli (MonΓ²polis in Greek) is a small city gracing the Adriatic coast. Like nearby Brindisi, Monopoli has been a vital port city since ancient times and connected to Rome through an important road called Via Traiana.

It was ruled by Byzantines, Normans, Hohenstaufen and eventually by Venetians in 1484. Under their reign, the economy boomed and subsequently attracted an onslaught of attacks from Muslim pirates. The constant threat forced the city to erect strong fortifications, which can still be seen today as you walk around the old port area.

Later the city fell under Spanish rule and eventually became part of Italy in 1860.

The Old Port in Monopoli

As much as I loved the port area in Brindisi, the old port area in Monopoli is even better.

Maybe it was the traditional fishing boats, remnants of castle walls with medieval cannons tucked into their crevices or the wide blue expanse of the Adriatic Sea that all made me fall in love with this town.

Monopoli Harbour Area

Monopoli Harbour Area

Monopoli Harbour Area

Monopoli Harbour Area

Monopoli Harbour Area

Monopoli Harbour Area

Monopoli Harbour Area

Monopoli Harbour Area

The Streets of Monopoli

This is where the Greek influence on the town is the most obvious, through the whitewashed buildings and playful splashes of bright blue paint.

I haven’t been to Greece just yet, but this is what I imagine the streets of a small Greek town to be like …

Streets of Monopoli

Monopoli Streets

Streets of Monopoli

Streets of Monopoli

Churches in Monopoli

The folks in Italy are religious, made evident by the sheer number of churches all within close proximity to one another.

Monopoli Church

Monopoli Church

Monopoli Church

Monopoli Church

Southern Visions

It was a local tour company, Southern Visions, that provided me with this warm introduction to both Puglia and Monopoli. My day with them was an unforgettable one and left a long-lasting impression on me. I know for sure that I’ll be back to experience even more of this region someday because of them. 

Southern Visions specializes in immersive culture journeys that connect you with Italy on a deeper, more personal level, be it through one of their cooking programs or cycling adventures. If desired, they’ll even customize an itinerary based on your specific preferences.

My Instagram photos of Monopoli only offer a small peak of what there is to experience in Puglia. Visit the Southern Visions website to learn more.

Good to Know

  1. If you base yourself in Brindisi, you can reach Monopoli within one hour by car or train.
  2. Due to its relatively small size, Monopoli can easily be visited in a single day. View a full list of things to do in Monopoli.
  3. The old port area plays host to an especially popular swimming spot during the summer months. It’s a great place to work on your tan and people watch.
  4. Stop for lunch or dinner at Osteria Perricci, a small family-run restaurant that offers traditional southern Italian food. Be sure to order some antipasto and to sample a broad range of the region’s specialties like fresh seafood and deep fried bread dough containing meat, fish or cheese. Be careful of their spicy oil, as it’s very hot. I added some to my pasta and while it tasted good at the time, my tummy hurt later on. Only consume if you can handle spicy flavours!

Location

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* Disclosure – My time in Monopoli was complimentary, courtesy of Southern Visions. Any opinions expressed about my love for seaside towns and their old port areas are entirely my own. 

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25 Comments

  • Reply Satu VW / Destination Unknown February 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Beautifully written post, Cheryl, and that “Puglia feeling” is the kind of Italy I know and love too. I would have not been able to put Monopoli on the map, I have to admit, but it looks like a lovely place to visit. I can’t wait to go back to Italy this spring!!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks Satu, that’s so nice of you to say! I’m jealous that you’ll be there so soon. I miss Italy dearly and look forward to following along with your adventures. πŸ™‚

  • Reply reeta @houseofanais February 28, 2014 at 4:19 am

    I love these photos from Monopoli, so rustic and pretty – especially by the seasides where those little boats are. I have had this desire for years to explore Italy and following your posts are really making to want to start planning a little tour around!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 28, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Thanks Reeta! Italy is a beautiful country so you can’t really go wrong anywhere. I highly recommend Monopoli, as it’s so beautiful.

  • Reply A Montrealer Abroad February 28, 2014 at 9:45 am

    LOVE the tree photo at the beginning!

  • Reply Lisa Goodmurphy February 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Your photos are lovely! I hadn’t heard of Puglia until recently and it sounds like a beautiful region of Italy to plan to visit.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Oh Lisa, you would love it! It’s so wonderful there. I’ve been home for a month and that Puglia feeling still holds me captive.

  • Reply Jenna February 28, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Gorgeous. I always enjoy your Instagramming posts, but this one might be my favorite.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 1, 2014 at 7:39 am

      Thanks Jenna, so nice of you to say that! Monopoli is a pretty special place. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Devlin @ Marginal Boundaries March 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I’m loving these shots, especially the one in Puglia with the single tree.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks Devlin! As I said above, it’s one of mine too. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Cathy Sweeney March 2, 2014 at 12:20 am

    I completely understand that Puglia feeling — I’ve gotten in myself. I fell in love with that region. Although I didn’t get to Monopoli, it reminds me of other towns I visited and you’ve taken me back to them with your photos.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Hi Cathy, Puglia is wonderful and I only wish I visited sooner. I guess you’ll have to go back soon so you can also experience Monopoli. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mary @ Green Global Travel March 3, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    These are awesome photos. My favorites are of The Old Port in Monopoli. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you Mary! Very kind of you to say. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica March 7, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    This is not a travel must for me.

  • Reply Frank March 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Great photos Cheryl! Italy such a photogenic place.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks Frank! Monopoli is a photographer’s dream, for sure.

  • Reply Jennifer March 24, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Terrific Instagrams! You are right, southern Italy does look quite similar to some of the northernmost Greek islands. Corfu was the first place I visited in Greece and I must admit that I disappointingly exclaimed that it looked a lot like Venice. Not because it wasn’t beautiful, but I was expecting all of Greece to be whitewashed with blue shutters just like in Mamma Mia. I found that on other islands like Mykonos, Santorini and Folegandros.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Thanks Jennifer, I simply adore Monopoli. I also look forward to exploring Greece this fall when TBEX happens! πŸ™‚

  • Reply CAROL Jacks May 11, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Am interested in learning more about Monopoli–eg. weather-temps–many expats?
    Cost of living–availability and costs.
    Thanks
    Carol Jacks

    • Reply Cheryl Howard May 11, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Hey Carol – Thanks for reading! As I only visited Monopoli for a few hours, I cannot really to speak to expat life there – if there are a lot of expats, cost of living, etc. Perhaps check out InterNations for more info? https://www.internations.org/italy-expats/guide

      Best,
      Cheryl

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