Minervino Murge is located on the last limestone step towards the Ofanto Basin and enjoys a privileged view over the Murgia National Park, which is why it is nicknamed the “Balcony of Apulia”.
The history of the town has ancient origins, some findings document that the territory was already inhabited in 2000 BC, but a romantic legend has it that the city was founded by a legionnaire who survived the battle of Cannae, and a young shepherdess, who celebrated their wedding in the current Grotta di San Michele (St. Michael’s Cave).
Today, Minervino Murge is a small town surrounded by green hills, with cold winters but very pleasant summers cooled by a crisp and clean air.
To visit the small old town center, one has to go up and down stairs, ladders, alleys and streets, but it is this enjoyable activity that allows you to breathe deeply and throw away the smog of the city environments.
There are many beautiful buildings in the old town center, with a common thread: the typical stone of the Murgia territory, which makes the ground so harsh, but once worked by the skilled hands of man, produces valuable architectures.
This stone is found widely used in Scesciola, the highest and oldest part of the historic center; covering the long flights of steps, it is the main character in the stone arches and,along with wrought iron, embellishes the facades of the buildings, with white sheets laying in the sun and red cherry tomatoes put out to dry.
Lady of the historic center is the Cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary with a severe stone façade softened by a Romanesque rose window and a beautiful main entrance of the 1600’s.
The treasures of the old town center continue with the Church of San Francesco which houses a magnificent baroque canopy of gilded wood.
In the Church of San Michele one can admire the rich paintings, while the Church of the Immaculate Conception enshrines an elegant stone crypt.
Perhaps all this ascending and descending around the historic center and the good air can bring forth one’s appetite, and passing in front of a restaurant you will most certainly smell the inviting aromas and then treat yourself to a well-earned break to enjoy the many specialties of the territories, all genuine.
Meats, cheeses, olive oil and good wine are the perfect ingredients to regain one’s strength and to keep going along one’s way.
A stopover in Piazza Bovio is absolutely ideal, to savor a good cup of coffee and to relish the view of the surrounding eighteenth and nineteenth century palaces, and within a few steps you can easily reach the castle.
The castle has Norman origins but over time has been substantially altered and now houses the archeological museum, a small treasure chest of vases, paintings, pottery, jars, stone tools, displayed with sought-after settings for easy reading of the relics.
It might seem strange, but there is a lighthouse in Minervino Murge! It is a monument erected in 1932 in honor of Fascism and its fallen.
Walking through the old town center one can enjoy glimpses of the surrounding countryside but from Gramsci Square you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Mount Vulture.
After the visit to the city, it would be timely to go into an area so evocative and rich in historical remains such as the lovely rock church of San Michele, a real cave where you go down along a stairway of ninety steps carved into the murgese stone until you reach a presbytery with four columns and a tombstone from the Roman imperial age.
The Grotto of Our Lady of the Sabbath is also exceptional.
With ease, you reach the Acquatetta forest, the second largest of Apulia’s forests rich with conifers, oaks, cypresses, asparagus plants and cyclamen that during flowering characterize the whole area with their colors. This territory is widely used by those who love running and hiking, and this is also a great for tourism.
Wineries to visit
distance 8,9 Km, about 17 minutes by car
- Spagnoletti Zeuli
distance 15,8 Km, about 17 minutes by car
- Azienda Rivera
distance 16,6 Km, about 15 minutes by car
- Cantine Carpentiere
distance 25,9 Km, about 34 minutes by car
distance 29,2 Km, about 36 minutes by car
- Tenuta Cocevola
distance 36,5 Km, about 28 minutes by car
- Cantina Grifo
distance 51,6 Km, about 39 minutes by car
Where to eat
- Terre di Traiano
distance 20,7 Km, about 19 minutes by car
- Tenuta Pedale
distance 42,2 Km, about 42 minutes by car
distance 51,7 Km, about 39 minutes by car