This gleaming Romanesque jewel is the largest church in Puglia. Located in the pretty historic center of Bitonto, just a few miles from Bari, it is a beautiful building with elaborate embellishments carved in stone. It was a Norman cathedral built in the 1200s over the remains of an earlier basilica.

The highlight is the carefully carved stonework, delicate in places and whimsical with animal figures. A sculpted arched loggia, columns, blind arches, and other details will keep you fascinated in the intricacy of the work. The parapet staircase is a sculpted marvel, as well. Incredible mosaic floors and a marble pulpit are also noteworthy. The crypt contains 5th century ruins in the midst of its rows of marble columns. Each is capped by a differently-style capital.

There is a lovely loggia called Loggia delle Benedizioni (logge of the blessings), a bridge between the cathedral and the Palazzo De Lerma, where the Carafa bishop would bestow blessings on the people, a feature added in the 1500s. The cathedral is truly a work of art, without "artwork", just the sculpted stone itself to distinguish the structure.

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Address in Bari:

Piazza Cattedrale Bitonto.

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