Puglia is an area steeped in history and local customs and there are plenty of museums on offer to help bring the region’s history and culture to life. In fact, there are so many museums scattered around Puglia that we could never hope to provide an exhaustive list of those worth visiting during your holiday. However, we hope that this at least gives you information on some of the most easily accessible museums that the region’s principal towns have to offer and provides a helpful starting point to your holiday planning.
In Alberobello, it’s definitely worth taking the time to visit the town’s largest trullo – Trullo Sovrano. This is a unique two storey trullo housing a fascinating museum showing what life in a trullo was like.
Also in Puglia is the Museo dell Territorio – Casa Pezzolla – similar in concept to Trullo Sovrano.
Lecce has a number of musuems including:
Provincial Archaeological Museum of San Castromediano
Lecce Historic Museum – This museum aims to chart the history of Lecce. With entry costing just a few euros, it’s worth popping in to this museum, if only to view the 3D videos that are on show.
Franciscan Art Gallery – Ideal for those with an interest in History of Art.
Archaeological Musuem Faggiano – discovered purely by chance when the owner of this property had to take up the floor to replace old pipework, the ensuing 7 year excavation period undercovered 2500 years of history and more than archaeological finds. Vistors will be able to see a granary, cisterns, frescos, underground escape ways, a well and hypogeums.
Museum of the Roman Theatre – a chance to explore the ancient ruins set right in the heart of Lecce.
Railway Museum – ideal for anyone passionate about trains, this is a collection of historic locomotives and memorabilia.
The archeological theme continues in Taranto which is home to Il Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Taranto which covers a vast period of history including Pre-History and Proto-History, the Greek and Roman periods as well as Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
The Museo Archeologico in Altamura houses a collection of grave goods dating back to the 8th to 5th century BC as well as a collection of local ceramics. However, the most famous of its exhibits is without doubt, the Man of Altamura, a skeleton of an adult male whose skeleton has features of Neanderthal man and forms of the Homus Erectus.
The Municipal Archeological Museum of Monopoli is housed in the Castle of Charles V within the town.
For those interested in archaeology, it’s also worth heading to Egnazia. The site is home to ruins from the Messapian and Roman periods and also boasts an on site museum displaying some remarkable excavated artefacts including mosaics and pottery. (Open April to September)
For a more gruesome snapshot of time gone past, spend an hour at the Castello di Peschici, exhibiting various methods of torture used over the centuries.
For those with more of an interest in food than history, then the Museo dell’ Olio d’Oliva in Fasano is worth a visit. The museum is housed in the 17th Century Masseria Sant ‘Angelo de Graecis. A visit here allows you the opportunity to learn about the traditional processes by which the Italians make virgin, extra virgin and plain old simple olive oil as well as the history of the product. It’s a chance to find out what you always wanted to know about Italian olive oil!
There is another opportunity to learn about olive oil in Ostuni at the Masseria Brancati where the owners of this ancient masseria will take you on a tour around the olive groves and explain the ancient methods of producing olive oil. You’ll also get the chance to taste the fruits of the labour of some of their more recent oil production.
For those who prefer sweet to savoury, and for younger vistors, head to the Museo del Confetto Mucci Giovanni, a museum and shop shedding light on the process of making sweets – ‘confetti’. Open between 8.30 and 13.00 and 17.00 – 21.00 Monday to Friday and then from 10.00 until 13.00 on Sundays, entry costs just a few euros.
But let’s not forget the wine which is just as important in the Puglian culture as it’s food. The Museo del Primitivo informs visitors about the rural culture of Salento and the wine production of the region. As you move through the rooms, you can tell which were once used to store red or white wine dependent on the colours of the walls.
For something completely different again, there is the Rudolf Valentino Museum, a must for fans of film. Learn about the first real movie star and some of his greatest films.