Located in the low hills known as the "murge," about 30 kilometers from Bari, the charming town of Conversano retains its Old World appeal. The distinct castle was built in 1054 as a Norman fortress, and was transformed into a noble residence in the 15th century by the aristocratic Acquaviva family, who held the feudal territory. The 25 meter-tall tower certainly stands out (and enjoys excellent views!). In front of the castle gates sits the cathedral, a Romanesque structure built in the 11th and 12th centuries with a Romanesque bell tower and another later baroque one. The tower and cupola bear colorful maiolica tiles, and the facade has a large rosone (rose window). Next to that is the former Benedictine monastery, now an archeological museum. Here, and beyond in other parts of town are pieces of the ancient megalithic walls that provided protection to an ancient civilization here.
The Romans called the town Norba, meaning "fortified city" but it grew under the Normans, and was a center of power for Goffredo Altavilla. It was called Casale Cupersanem. The Acquaviva counts held the territory until the early 1800s, and they and their courts built noble palaces and art-filled churches. Besides the cathedral, you should definitely see the baroque-decorated church of San Cosimo e Damiano, its decorated barrel vault is astounding.
The hub of life is the Piazza della Conciliazione, also called Largo della Corte, a vast square where folks gather, where tables sit in the sun for getting together, enjoying a drink, and watching the people. All around town you'll find a plethora of cafes, restaurants, wine bars and pubs, along with trendy shops and everyday stores to serve all your needs.
Outside town, a great place for a walk is the Torre di Castiglione, an old watch tower, along with the lake and woods also called Castiglione.
The beaches at Cozze and Polignano a Mare are in reach; Polignano is definitely a town to explore. Also in the vicinity is the cavern Castellana Grotte. Some of Puglia's most famous sights are nearby, too - like Alberobello, Locorotondo, and the city of Bari.
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Explore nearby towns
Placed a plateau above the sea, Polignano a Mare lies south of Puglia's capital city of Bari along the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea.
Turi sits where the Puglia limestone plain, called the Murgia, starts to give way to the Valle d'Itria.
The town of Castellana Grotte is not to be confused with the "grotte di Castellana" which is the main attraction here.