Gravina di Puglia is a small town near Bari known mainly for being the main headquarters of the Alta Murgia National Park.

The ancient town of Gravina di Puglia has a very important history: it is no coincidence that here, thanks to the presence of an underground river, various populations have come and gone since the Paleolithic era.
In fact, over the years, the area has undergone numerous dominations: Greeks, then Romans and again Visigoths and Vandals. But the most influential families in the city were certainly the Anjou and the Orsini who reigned over the country for 500 years, until the unification of Italy in 1848.

You could decide to spend a weekend in Gravina di Puglia or discover it joining one of our tours:

⇒ Cycling holidays in Italy: Unesco tour

⇒ Walk the Cammino Materano

⇒ Matera and the tour of Puglia by road bike

⇒ Discover Matera and the north of Puglia

⇒ Beautiful South: Sassi, Trulli and Baroque 

What to see in Gravina di Puglia

We have prepared a list of things not to be missed in Gravina di Puglia to enjoy the beauty of this fascinating town nestled in the Apulian Murgia. Why not decide to dedicate a day to discover the beauties of Gravina?

  • Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
  • Rupestrian Church of San Michele delle Grotte
  • Viaduct Bridge - Madonna della Stella Aqueduct

And now let's set off together to discover the most incredible places in Gravina di Puglia!

Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta

The Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta is the main church of the town and can be easily reached by visiting Gravina on foot. What characterizes it is the pragmatic mix of different styles closely linked to the history of the church built in 1092 in Romanesque style and, following a huge fire, rebuilt only in 1508 with a more Renaissance style which was followed, between the 17th and 18th century, numerous restoration works in Baroque style.
Externally the church is divided into three naves and has a wonderful Romanesque style rose window which has been preserved since the first construction. Internally, however, the church is made up of three naves which lead to the side chapels and is decorated with a wonderful golden carved wooden ceiling.

Rupestrian Church of San Michele delle Grotte

If you walk through the streets of Gravina you will arrive in the ancient Fondovico district where you will be enchanted by the rock church of San Michele delle Grotte. It is a construction excavated from a single block of tuff between the 8th and 10th centuries. The church is a very particular place as it is possible to still see remains of skulls and bones which according to legend belong to the martyrs of the massacre of the Gravina people carried out by the Saracens in 999.
Precisely in this place on May 8th the Feast of San Michele delle Grotte is celebrated which commemorates the appearance of the saint in one of these caves.

Viaduct Bridge - Madonna della Stella Aqueduct

Less than a kilometer from the center of Gravina you can reach the Madonna della Stella viaduct – aqueduct bridge on foot. It is a bridge that allowed the crossing of the "Gravina" stream and it consists of an arched structure 90 m long, 5.5 m wide and 37 meters high. It is thought that it was initially built around 1600 and then destroyed in the earthquake of 1722. It was finally rebuilt and used as an aqueduct only around 1750. 

What to do in Gravina di Puglia - the Slow Active Tours proposal

Once you have discovered the wonders hidden among the streets of Gravina di Puglia, the time has come to get to the heart of the sounds and smells of this ancient town. For this reason, we have prepared a list of things to do in Gravina di Puglia that you absolutely cannot miss!

Underground Gravina

One of the most evocative activities you can do in Gravina di Puglia is the visit to the Gravina Sotterranea. It is a set of tunnels and underground cavities that will allow you to walk in the ancient Gravina to discover old granaries, cellars, wells and aqueducts.

Cola Cola laboratory

In Benedetto XIII square, a few minutes walk from the center of Gravina, there is the ancient Cola Cola laboratory and museum, one of the symbols of the town. Cola Cola are in fact terracotta whistles made in numerous different shapes. The laboratory is actually a house-museum that contains all the Gravina’s traditions handed down from generation to generation such as the many varieties of this whistle, symbol of the city.

Bosco Difesa Grande

If you are a nature lover you cannot miss the Bosco Difesa Grande, a wonderful protected natural area located 6 km from Gravina di Puglia. It represents the perfect place for the local conservation of flora, such as oaks, shrubs or hawthorn, and fauna, mainly composed of reptiles and birds.

The forest represents the ideal place for a walk in the greenery, activities such as running or trekking, but also simply for relaxing and having a picnic surrounded by the local natural beauty.

Cammino Materano

For all walking and trekking enthusiasts, an activity not to be missed is the Cammino Materano: one of the most beautiful paths in southern Italy which connects the cities of Matera and Bari through a route dedicated to the discovery of nature. The route passes right through Gravina di Puglia, so you have no excuses!

Popular festivals and celebrations of Gravina di Puglia

One of the most important religious festivals in Gravina di Puglia is the Feast of San Michele Arcangelo which is celebrated in the last days of September. On this occasion, to celebrate the end of summer, the city comes alive and is filled with fireworks, concerts and conferences preceded by the solemn procession that parades through the city.
If, however, you are in Gravina di Puglia at the end of November you cannot miss the Cardoncello Mushroom and Novello Wine Festival. On this occasion the town is filled with stands and stalls offering the best local food and wine products, all accompanied by concerts and folkloristic events.

Typical dishes of Gravina di Puglia

The typical dishes of Gravina di Puglia are those typical of the Apulian tradition, which is why the oil and olives that grow in these areas are vitally essential. Dairy products made with milk from local pastures and vegetables grown here, such as tomatoes and peppers, are also extremely consumed.

The thing, however, that makes Gravina di Puglia so famous is the Verdeca di Gravina: a sparkling wine characterized by greenish colors from which, precisely, "verdeca". What makes Verdeca di Gravina so recognisable, in addition to its unique color, is its fresh and creamy flavor which leaves a very pleasant aroma in the mouth. Verdeca di Gravina, then, hides many little secrets. One of these has to do with its history. The wine, in fact, was made into sparkling wine almost unconsciously as it was placed in barrels, made with the typical woods of the area and stored at the temperatures of other local wines. This means that it was stored in cellars dug into the tuff which caused the wine to produce a slightly sugary flavor. The truly unique thing, however, is that the wine was fermented a second time thanks to a combination of three varieties of grapes: Greco, Malvasia and Bianco di Alessano, all grapes from the Gravina area which contributed to making the wine a producible product. Certain areas of Italy. Currently the wine is marketed all over the world, even coming from different areas of Puglia (such as the Itria valley or the Bari area) but strictly composed of the union of these three varieties of grapes.

If you are in these areas, you absolutely must try a glass of this exquisite wine, savor all its nuances and let yourself be carried away by its smell!

Eating and Drinking in Gravina di Puglia

Among the many restaurants in the center of Gravina di Puglia, we recommend some that are worth visiting:

Ristorante Evo in Viale Orsini 15. High quality restaurant offering both fish and meat dishes. Its strong point is certainly the freshness of the products it uses, but no less is the punctual and kind service and the refined furnishings.
Osteria Radici, in Fontana la Stella street 39. The well-kept restaurant is the perfect backdrop to a restaurant full of quality. The dishes offered, in fact, reflect the local culinary tradition, but with a pinch of creativity. The dishes are plentiful and the prices are excellent.
Osteria Sant'Agostino in Corso Vittorio Emanuele 12. Without a doubt one of the best panzerotti in the area. Located in the center of Gravina, in this place you will have the opportunity to try panzerotti with the most innovative and unique flavors. It’s the best choice for an "on-the-go" meal while visiting the country.
La ghiottoneria panzerotteria in Piazza Scacchi 4. Without a doubt one of the best panzerotti restaurants in the area. Located in the center of Gravina, in this place you will have the opportunity to try panzerotti with the most innovative and unique flavors. Excellent for an "on-the-go" meal while visiting the country.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your stuff ready and off you go!