Founded by the Greeks, invaded by the Romans, the Normans and the Byzantines and then annexed to Venice in the 1400s, Monopoli was once an important trading port.
Today, it’s a lively little harbour town encircled by fortified sea walls, with numerous cafes and restaurants lining the pretty alleyways and lively piazzas. It’s dominated by a 16th-century castle, which often hosts cultural events and exhibitions in summer, and a beautiful cathedral topped by a soaring bell tower. Make sure you take time to stroll around the porto vecchio, where blue boats bob in the water and fishermen mend their nets on the quayside. Beyond the ramparts are sandy bays ideal for swimming and sunbathing.