Slow Active Tours
Southern Italy experience
Nature, emotion & art
Cassano delle Murge, also known as Cassano Murge, is a small town in the province of Bari, located in the highest area of Puglia on the Murge plateau. It's particularly known for its proximity to the Mercadante forest, a wonderful equipped pine forest built in 1928.
The origins of Cassano Murge are very ancient, going back as far as prehistoric times. In fact, in the caves around the town, several finds of considerable archaeological importance have been made over the years, such as a menhir dating from 2500-2000 BC.
In ancient times Cassano Murge was a thriving theater of numerous struggles, such as the Greek-Gothic War fought between the Goths and the Eastern Roman Empire.
You might decide to spend a weekend in Cassano Murge or discover it in passing with one of our tours:
⇒ Cammino Materano from Bari to Matera
⇒ Cycling holidays in Italy: Unesco tour
⇒ Puglia on Gravel bike: from Bari to Matera
⇒ Discover Matera and the north of Puglia
We have prepared a list with the things not to be missed in Cassano Murge to serenly enjoy the beauties of this charming village nestled in the Apulian Murgia. Why not decide to dedicate a day to discovering the beauties of Cassano Murge?
And now let's start together to discover the most suggestive places in Cassano delle Murge!
The Sanctuary-Convent of Santa Maria Degli Angeli is a few minutes' walk outside the city walls and is, to this day, a small convent among the caves run by the Augustinian Fathers. The story linked to its origin is extremely suggestive, since it is said that several apparitions of the Virgin Mary took place here. A few years later, a frescoed representation of a sacred image was found, right on one of the walls of the cave and here an extremely suggestive convent was built, full of marvelous works of art. The Convent is accessible to all and the ticket has no cost, so you absolutely cannot miss it!
The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is a relatively new church, in fact its construction dates back to 1858, but the structure stands on the remains of a Romanesque church dating back to the 14th century, of which the original bell tower is still preserved. The Church, composed of three naves, appears simple on the outside but inside it houses numerous works of art of inestimable value. In the central nave, in fact, you can appreciate the painting created by the artist Michele Montrone depicting the Assumption of the Madonna, as well as valuable works by Umberto Colonna scattered throughout the church.
The Palazzo Marchesale is a Baroque building in the center of Cassano Murge. Reachable on foot from every part of the country, it represents the symbol of local culture. Inside the building, in fact, it is possible to visit a picture gallery and a municipal library, while in some rooms, musical events and conferences of various kinds are often hosted.
The tower-houses (casa torre) are some of the symbols of Cassano Murge. These towers are characterised by the fact that they were built following the architecture of medieval towers, but were used as dwellings. Unfortunately, they had little success and to this day it is only possible to visit one of them, dating back to the 12th century, by walking to Via San Giovanni.
Once you have discovered the wonders hidden in the narrow streets of Cassano Murge, the time has come to get to the heart of the sounds and smells of this ancient village. For this reason we have prepared a list with the things to do in Cassano Murge that you absolutely cannot miss!
Just 7 kilometers outside Cassano Murge it is possible to meet the wonderful Mercadante Forest, a well-kept green area that allows its visitors to relax, have a picnic or go for walks in nature.
Did you know that this forest hides a little secret? It is, in fact, an artificial forest! In 1800, following the massive deforestation that was taking place in the Murge area, the land had begun to suffer from numerous floods and progressive soil erosion. It was for this reason that it was decided to artificially plant numerous coniferous trees and create a new green lung on the Murge plateau.
One of the unmissable activities of Cassano Murge is to visit the small town on foot and get carried away in the characteristic streets and alleys and then get lost and stop to savor the delicacies that this place has to offer. You will not regret it!
If you are a fan of trekking and walking, you absolutely cannot miss the Cammino Materano. It is a wonderful itinerary that joins the cities of Matera and Bari and guess what? It passes right through Cassano Murge! So you have no more excuses, backpack on your shoulders and off you go!
If you are in Cassano Murge during the summer, you absolutely cannot miss the Estate Cassanese (Cassano Summer). It is a series of cultural and gastronomic festivals and fairs that culminate in the Sagra della Focaccia (Feast of Focaccia) on 11 August. An event in which all the bakeries and master bakers of the municipality meet in the streets of the town and serve the most delicious types of focaccia.
While between the first days of August and the first days of September, there is the event La grande Festa di Pierino (Pierino's Big Festival), a unique opportunity to savor the most varied tastes of beer, accompanied by meat and local products. The perfect party to get together and have fun!
In November, on the other hand, you cannot miss the Sagra Pane e Olio in Fabbrica (Bread and Oil Festival), a festival with a strong cultural value that becomes an opportunity to valorise the typical products of the Murge tradition.
Culinary delights abound in this area. In fact, it is possible to find typical regional products - such as orecchiette pasta - to products deriving from the land, such as olives, grapes and almonds.
There are, however, some products that make Cassano famous throughout the region! Among these we certainly find the black chickpea of Cassano. It is a unique, very black chickpea, with a rounded shape and a smooth and thin skin, that only grows in this area, characterised in fact, by a mainly rocky and waterless soil. Today it is a Slow Food Presidium.
Despite being a chickpea, it has nothing to do with common chickpeas; in fact, in addition to its characteristic color, the black chickpea is particularly recognizable thanks to its shape similar to that of a grain of corn which has its apex similar to that of a hook. What makes it so different from the others, however, is certainly its unique, slightly herbaceous and very savory flavour. In addition to this, it has very important beneficial properties deriving from the significant fiber and iron content. Precisely for this reason, in ancient times, it was strongly recommended in the diet of pregnant women. Despite its many qualities, however, the market for the black chickpea has never been so flourishing. This is probably due to the fact that it requires a very long soaking and cooking time - after 48 hours of soaking, cooking will last at least 2 hours!
Among the many restaurants in the center of Cassano Murge, we recommend some that are worth a visit:
Locanda degli Angeli, in Via Cesare Battisti 22. In an intimate location the hospitality of the owners will make you feel immediately at home! Taste traditional dishes revisited and made tasty through the wise use of quality ingredients;
Osteria Delle Palme by Mimmo Stefy, in Via Crocifisso, 8. If you are in the centre of Cassano Murge and you want to taste good fish, Osteria delle Palme da Mimmo Stefy is what you need. Here you can find raw and cooked fish specialties as well as excellent appetizers and delicious desserts. You will not regret it!
Arte Gelata, in Via Unità d'Italia 14. Thanks to Arte Gelata you will have the opportunity to taste the real and delicious homemade ice cream, right in the heart of Cassano. In this small bar, in fact, you can try from the most classic flavors to the most creative thanks to the constant guidance of ice cream makers who will help you choose the right ice cream for you.
So what are you waiting for? Backpack on the shoulder and off we go!
Slow Active Tours
Via Corrado Alvaro, 17a
73100 - Lecce, LE - Italia
Tel: +39 0832 1826868