Five days in Monopoli

Monopoli in November?  Most people wouldn’t even consider it.  Good thing we aren’t most people, because Monopoli in November is lovely (even if many of the restaurants are closed and even if you have to avoid the rain showers).

Monopoli is a small little seaside town (population under 50K) in the region of Apulia (or Puglia in Italian) in the heel of the boot of Italy.  Although tourism has increased in recent years, the town still holds quite a bit of traditional charm.  In fact, it still pretty much shuts down in the middle of the afternoon for “riposo” so everyone can have a leisurely lunch — even the groceries close.

The city of Monopoli is probably most known for its old city, with its white buildings and narrow passageways.


One of the narrow streets in Monopoli.  Try getting this shot in the heart of tourist season….

Monopoli also has a castle.  Well, it is called a castle at least — the Castle of Carlo V, to be precise.  It is really more of a fortress.  It was constructed back in the 1500’s.  It isn’t very pretty, but it is one of the main sights of Monopoli.


The Monopoli castle.

And, of course, on a sunny day (which are few and far between in November) the views of the water are incredible.


Traditional fishing boats in the harbor.

But you know what we loved best about Monopoli?  The Chiesa di Santa Maria del Suffragio, otherwise known as the Church of Purgatory.  Built towards the end of the 17th century, this so isn’t your typical church.  You know that as soon as you see the outside.  The doors are covered in skeletons and there are skull and crossbones motifs on the building.


The doors to the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Suffragio.

Once you enter the church, it looks like any other church.  At first.  But look more closely and you will see this is not your typical church.  Instead, it is a church dedicated to praying for the poor souls stuck in purgatory.


One of the many skeleton paintings at the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Suffragio.

But the real highlight at the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Suffragio are the “mummies.”  Depending on your source, these “mummies” may be the embalmed remains of the founding members of the church and local administrators or they might just be some unlucky people with no relation to the church at all.


One of the “mummies.”  They are all behind glass so it is next to impossible to get a decent photo, but we thought the reflection of the cross in this photo made this photo kind of fun.

Only we would find a purgatory church the most interesting part of Monopoli….

About theschneiduks

Lisa has a degree in biology and another in law and has spent the last 20 years working as a patent litigator. She is a voracious reader of young adult dystopian fiction and watches far too much bad tv. She loves pretty much anything to do with zombies, and doesn’t think there is anything weird about setting an alarm at 6 am on a weekend to stumble to a pub to watch her beloved Chelsea boys. Robert has had many professions, including a chef, a salesman, an IT guy and most recently, a stay at home dog dad. He speaks Italian and hopes to learn Spanish on this trip. He loves nothing more than a day spent sailing, hopes to do more scuba diving, and rues the day he introduced Lisa to football (i.e., soccer).
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2 Responses to Five days in Monopoli

  1. mongo65 says:

    Sounds like a fun stop. I have to admit though, I don’t see you guys doing well somewhere that has closed restaurants. Are you guys going to be in the states over Christmas?



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