Puglia’s Alta Murgia National Park includes 13 municipalities, each with their own unique sights and experiences to discover. Whether you are looking for a vacation focused on being in nature, history or looking for a gastronomical experience, Alta Murgia Park has something to offer every visitor. Check out our list of some of the best things to do while visiting the park.
Castel del Monte
Puglia’s most famous landmark, Castel del Monte is located in the middle of Alta Murgia National park on the outskirts of the city of Andria. Built as a citadel and castle by Emperor Frederik II from 1240-1250, the castle was left abandoned for several decades and stripped by vandals before being taken over by the Italian government. Castel del Monte is an is an iconic landmark of Puglia and can be seen from many points throughout the national park, in 1996 it was a UNESCO World Heritage for its historical significance and unique archaeological style.
The Altamura Cathedral
Built from 1232 until 1254, the Altamura Cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful medieval cathedrals in Italy. The church’s facade and interior contain intricate stonework and carvings which add to it’s striking appearance in the center of the town of Altamura. The interior is filled with ornate 19th-century decor and includes beautiful renaissance painting and statues. The cathedral is known as one of Puglia’s most famous masterpieces.
The City of Minervino Murge
Minervino Murge is an ancient town located on the western edge of the Alta Murgia national park.
Minervino Murge offers one of the most beautiful views onto the national park with a vantage point of 429 meters above sea level. From here visitors can truly appreciate the landscape of the park, appreciating the Murgia from this view is so popular that the town is nicknamed the “Balcony of Puglia”.
While in Minervino be sure to explore the Scesicola, which is the oldest district of the town and offers amazing examples of medieval architecture. The neighbourhood is characterized by its intricate system of narrow streets with houses built along within steep hill slopes.
St. Michael’s Cave in Minervino Murge
Exterior St Michael’s Cave
Acting as a church and sacred pilgrimage stop, the cave of San Michael is a must-see while visiting Minervino Murge. The cave itself was first formed around 2 million years ago and the first evidence of it being used as a church for the cult of the Archangel St. Michael dates back to the year 1000
The cave has a great historical and artistic value and definitely worth the €1.50 entrance fee.
The City Ruvo di Puglia
Located to the east of Alta Murgia National Park, the city of Ruvo di Puglia is known for being the center of wine and olive oil production in the Murgia region. Puglia produces some of the world’s best olive oil, much of which is made in the area surrounding Ruvo di Puglia. While in the area be sure to find time to visit oil producers in the area known for making delicious Terre di Bari DOP extra virgin olive oil. Besides the wine and oil producers found near the city, Ruvo di Puglia has one of the most beautiful historical centers in Puglia, with amazing architecture and unique museums showcasing the many civilizations who lived in the area, from the Greeks to the Romans.