A Day in Altamura
Altamura, the small city in the province of Bari, is little known by those outside of Italy. If you do make the trip, you will be delighted to find a charming historical city worthy of exploration and Italy’s (i.e. the worlds) best and most famous focaccia bread.
Altamura is beautiful, cobblestoned and inviting. The historical center is especially full of life, people (young and old), shops, restaurants and cafés, cathedrals and “forno antico” (antique oven in English). You’ll only need a handful of hours to explore the historical center but I do suggest taking your time to linger and stroll through the cobblestoned streets, taking in the sights and scents.
Altamura is known as the town of bread. Their bread is so good and special; it is actually protected (PDO). It’s likely if you’ve come to Italy, you’re a fan of pizza, bread and focaccia so why not try the world’s best bread? The oldest bread oven, Forno Santa Chiara, dates back to 1423 – yep almost 600 years.
Another delicious bread/focaccia maker to visit is Forno Santa Caterina, dating back to 1724. Not as old but in my humble opinion, the more delicious of the two. But don’t take my word for it – try several pieces at different ovens. They are fun to visit and a piece of focaccia costs less than a euro!
Visiting the Altamura Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta) is like stepping foot in a museum: appreciate the intricate carvings of scenes from the New Testament and the numerous paintings throughout the large structure. Having visited in November, the Nativity scene was up – and it was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!
Traditional Drink and Dessert
Caffe’ Ronchi, established in 1832 (yes – this really is a historic town) is famous for its noci and tette delle monache. Noci is hazelnut liquor and tette are soft cake-like desserts that in English translate to nun’s breasts (to note: they are not vegan). Even if you aren’t a liquor lover (I’m not either!), it’s still fun to taste the unique, traditional drinks and desserts of a town.
A day in Altamura really is a day of tasting the delicious local and traditional foods, paired with strolling charming cobblestoned streets, encounters with sweet old ladies and one too many espressos – and a lovely way to spend a day, in my opinion!
Which are your favourite small Italian cities?
Have you been to Altamura? Which antique oven was your favourite?