In Cisternino there are no the monumental churches of Ostuni or the Trulli of Alberobello. And it doesn’t even have the scenographic impact of Locorotondo. Yet, even on a short tour of the Itria Valley, you cannot fail to visit it: because Cisternino is one of the most fascinating villages in the whole area, rich in traditions and where it is a pleasure to get lost in its alleys and small squares. A charm due to its popular and unplanned architecture that distinguishes the historic center. Here are 5 good reasons to visit Cisternino.
1. ORANGE FLAG OF TCI AND SLOW FOOD TOWN Cisternino boasts the Orange Flag of the TCI (Italian Touring Club). This is a recognition of quality awarded to small towns in Italy for excellence in tourism, hospitality and the environment. Cisternino is also included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy and in the Slow Food towns due to the maintenance of its gastronomic traditions and the protection of local crops and productions such as, for example, the meat that can be purchased in one of the many butchers in the historic center. Here, if you want, the meat is grilled in the same butcher’s shop and ate by sitting at the tables specially arranged outdoors.
2. PIAZZA GARIBALDI AND THE VILLA COMUNALE The exploration of Cisternino starts from Piazza Garibaldi, with the Villa Comunale (“Municipal Garden”) on one side and the Torre Grande (“Big Tower”) with the Porta Grande and the Cathedral on the other. The quadrangular Torre Grande was built by the Normans because it was a natural sighting point over the entire Itria valley. The splendid panorama today is not admired so much from the tower but from the belvedere behind the Villa Comunale.
3. THE ATMOSPHERE OF THE HISTORICAL CENTER The atmosphere and charm of Cisternino lie above all in wandering between the houses of the historic center and the other ancient neighborhoods that extend beyond the Cathedral and the Torre Grande. Needless to indicate a precise itinerary, also because the beauty of the visit is to get lost and then find yourself. For sure, sooner or later you will pass by Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, with its Clock Tower, the ideal place to have an aperitif and enjoy the village life. Walking through Cisternino you will discover the beauty of the houses leaning against each other, connected by arches, interspersed with stairs, decorated with balconies and stone masks: a popular architectural masterpiece donated by the wisdom of bricklayers and stonemasons with no name. This is perhaps the main reason for spending time between the white walls of Cisternino.
4. SANCTUARY OF MADONNA D’IBERNIA Those who want to deepen the religious tourism of Cisternino can go to the Sanctuary of Madonna d’Ibernia, which is located 3 km from the inhabited center and is surrounded by land on which Roman, medieval, Byzantine finds were discovered as well as some tombs. The Sanctuary was built – as legend has it – on a place indicated by the Virgin herself, during a miraculous apparition.
5. OLD TRADITIONS As in other villages in Puglia, Cisternino too jealously keeps rituals, customs and folklore that make up a patchwork of traditions dating back to ancient times. This is the case, for example, of the patronal feast of San Quirico which takes place during the first week of August where concerts, fireworks, processions and markets fill the town. Or during the Easter Monday, called in dialect Pasquaredde, where the Madonna of Prosperity which is located in the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Ibernia is honored with typical sweets.
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