Altamura is a small town of the south of Italy, dependent of Apulia and located in the Province of Bari. Altamura can be found in the hill of Murge, very close to the city of Bari.
There are many ancient locations that have inhabited the area throughout history. There is a legend that says that the city of Altamura was first founded in the 13th century under the name of Altilia, which comes from Alter Ilium, “the other Troy”. There is also another legend that considers Athena to be the founder of the city.
Nevertheless, there is no consensus about the origin of the name of the city.
What to see in Altamura?
Altamura has a wide variety of things to do and monuments to visit, some of which even date from the ancient times, something which is not that uncommon in Italy.
The Altamura Cathedral was built in the 13th century, between the years 1232 and 1242 by the king Frederick II of Swabia. Located in the center of the city, it was devoted to the virgin.
The façade is featured with a portal from the 14th century, guarded by the two main towers, one on each side. It is decorated with carved scenes from the Bible, in particular, from the New Testament.
The mixture of styles is something that stands out in this 13th-century cathedral, which serves as an evidence of the different phases it was built, and later remodeling. For example, the rose window that coronates the façade dates from the 16th century, while visitors can also appreciate a Gothic portal which probably dates from the beginning of the 15th century.
Going to the inside, a beautiful stone pulpit can be appreciated in the center of the church, and also a 16th-century choir, built by Altobello Persio.
It is a must for the lovers of religious architecture.
The Altamura Municipal Museum is a stunning, must-visit archeological museum which showcases artifacts found in the region. The oldest ones date back up to 2500 years.
The museum is divided into five sections, each one of which covers a different historical period: Hellenistic Ages, classical, archaic, prehistoric and paleolithic. This is a great opportunity to travel in time throughout the city’s history. There is no better way to get to know the nature of a city than by its ruins.
You would normally have to pay for the Museum ticket, but if you are traveling in a tight budget, there are also some parts open to the public for free, like the Prehistory of food exhibition, open in the Exhibition Hall.
The Lamalunga Cave.
The Lamalunga cave is one of the most interesting paleolithic discoveries in the whole of Europe. Located in the proximities of the city of Altamura, is home to one of the most incredible archeological remains of the region, the Man of Altamura.
The Man of Altamura (Uomo di Altamura in Italian) are the rests of a male adult, with mixed features of the Neanderthal population and the Homo erectus. One of the evidence that there were mixed races in the history of humanity.
The Bread of Altamura.
Altamura is widely known as the “city of bread” for centuries. The quality of the bread in Altamura is so high that international chains have no chance in competing with the local foods.
Altamura’s bread is made from whole grain wheat flour and baked in wood-burning ovens, as they have been made traditionally. These wood-burning ovens give the bread that special taste and texture.
Bread is the most knowledgeable food attraction of the city, but Altamura has a rich and varied culinary tradition that’s worth trying during your stay.
Where to Eat in Altamura
As we have already said, Altamura has a rich and varied culinary tradition. Traditional dishes can be found in almost every local restaurant. But among all the different restaurants to choose from this beautiful city offers to tourists and locals, there is one that’s worth highlighting: Santa Lucia Bakery
Santa Lucia Bakery is the favorite among the five best bakeries of the town, chosen by the visitors. It is located in Piazza Mercadante, 7. This is the best place to get your bread, baked daily of the wood-burning ovens of the old bakery. Moreover, you can try the different bakery products.
There are no bakery goods better than the ones you can try in Santa Lucia Bakery.