Around Mola di Bari
A walk around the streets, the history and the traditions of Mola di Bari
The streets, the lifestyle and the monuments in Mola di Bari
Travelling gives you the chance to discover fully the local traditions and to get to familiarise yourself with the territory. With this guided tour through the streets of Mola di Bari you will experience a journey through the “molese” (adjective meaning “from Mola”) lifestyle, observing the history, the art and the customs of our marvellous town.
The Square XX Settembre
A spacious pedestrian area, full of light, to suit any walker’s needs. The fountain is a landmark dedicated to the sailors. It is the centre of the agora, point of intersection between two axes. One axis runs from north to south, connecting the magnificent statue “Dona Flor”, dedicated to the local musician Niccolò Van Westerhout, with the “Palazzo delle cento camere” (the 100 rooms palace) also known as “Roberti-Alberotanza”. The other axis runs from east to west, running from the old town, reaching its climax in the rose window of the church “Maddalena”.
The Barons Noya where the first one to build a palace in the square that gave them the privilege of a sea view. Stories tell that, due to the rivalry between the families Noya and Roberti, the latter built a bigger palace, that blocked the view, the famous Palace of the 100 rooms.
Turning left from the Roberti Palace, you will go into road Van Westerhout, there is the marvellous Pesce Palace: apparently it was designed by the same architect that designed the Reggia di Caserta, Vincenzo Ruffo. Today its halls, covered in frescos, and the inside courtyard, host various shows throughout the entire year.
THEATRE NICCOLÒ VAN WESTERHOUT
Known as “The bonbonniere”, our delightful theatre, built in 1888, is a little architecture and painting masterpiece. Both sides of the neoclassical front are adorned with Greek theatre masks. Inside, the chairs, the frescos and the dimmed lights give the feeling of a big but cosy living room. The wood structures have been accurately recreated with matte and brilliant gold. A thriving theatrical season attracts passionate audiences from all over the region.
VIA CRISPI AND LE QUATTRO FONTANE
Turn left and follow the white paved road until you reach road Francesco Crispi, also known as the street of beans. Try to recognise all the perfumes, typical of our everyday life: freshly washed clothes drying on the balconies and terraces, vegetables and fresh fruit exhibited on little chairs and sold directly from the farmers’ homes.
At the end of the road you will end up in the square of “le quattro Fontane” (the four fountains), under which there used to be an underground oil mill: a karst cave that was once used to produce our famous extra virgin olive oil.
Going up Corso Umberto I, you will reach the gardens of square “San Domenico”. Here every morning, local farmers set up their stands and open the fruit market. Take a minute to rest and enjoy our little green oasis: facing the square you can admire both the church and the monastery of San Domenico, established in the late 1500s. Today these premises host charity associations and the town public library.
Once you have spotted the water bubbler, take road Cesare Battisti and follow it until you will find the monastery of Santa Chiara. Today the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Arts) of Bari, holds some classes here, in this building established in the 1600s.
The circular structure surrounds the cloister, the halls are connected by corridors and tunnels, where you could easily get lost and discover “secret” passages that connect the rooms. It is paved with bright white tuff, typical from Puglia, and during summer time it is brought to life by plays and concerts.
The little road on the left of the monastery entrance will take you to square “Dei Mille” (the Thousand). Here you can admire the 1600s church dedicated to the Virgin of Purification, with its interiors finely embellished by frescos and wooden frames. This chapel belongs to the parish of Santa Maria di Loreto.
You can go down road Alberotanza, turning into road Lecce and then into road Susca, a pretty little alley way that will take you to road Di Vagno. Turning right you will get to Loreto Church facing the sea for 500 years.
FISH MARKET AND HARBOUR
Loreto Church carefully hold the statue of the Virgin of the Deep Sea who blesses the sea and the sailors. They symbolically take the statue onboard of a parading fleet on the first Sunday of July every year.
Follow and enjoy the seafront, on your way you will find the fish market that offers all the delicacies caught daily by the “molesi” (from Mola) anglers: they are a sight for sore eyes and a delight for the palate.
The harbour has been filled with trawlers and other fishing boats, it is the perfect spot to watch the fireworks during the nights of the local saint patron festival.
Entering the little alleyways you will go into the most ancient part of Mola: this area used to be inside the Angioino Castle’s walls and it was the only inhabited area of the town until the 16th century. Going towards the main square you will find the ancient San Nicola Church, our very own church “Matrice” (term used for the main church). Rebuilt in the 16th century on the remains of a previous chapel from the 1200s, it is an authentic example of the romanesque architecture, with some baroque details. Between its stone aisles, there are masterpieces from the Apulian and Neapolitan eighteenth century art school.
Built to protect the city, the Castle was rebuilt by the Angioni in the year 1277. Its walls, surrounded by the sea, have protected our city from Saracens and pirate attacks. This fortress, in fact, it has never been breached. Inside there are rooms and halls and a marvellous courtyard. The caper plants that grow within its ancient stonewalls show the calcareous nature of our territory. Majestic and with its battlements that reach towards the sea, it is the guardian of our little city.