I came to Bitonto on the train from Bari just for a day’s work. After the graft was done the local teacher very kindly gave me a lightning tour of the old town.
First stop was the Porta Baresana, one of only two of the original city gates still standing. Although the original gate was Roman, the current one is Renaissance style, with a 20th century clock added. I think the current council should get with the times and update it with a digital flip clock.
Next we went to see the 11th century Romanesque cathedral in Piazza Cattedrale.
Please click on the photos below to get a full screen slideshow.
There are two lion’s heads either side of the cathedral door but their ancient features have been worn away over time. The teacher (a fellow Northerner from Blackpool) told me that it breaks her heart to see the local kids hanging their coats from the heads to make goalposts.
On the way back to the station she also took me to the best bakery in town, Pannetteria la Sfornata at 117 Via Matteotti. I bought a ham and cheese panzarotto, to keep me company during my wait on the platform.
From my research I know Bitonto has a strong food culture. Its known as ‘the City of Olives’, but Bocconotto cakes are also a symbol of the city, some of which were on display in the bakery. Bocconotti are also typical of Abruzzo where they are often filled with chocolate, however the local variation, made by the Benedictine nuns of Bitonto, has a filling of ricotta and candied fruit.
My brief impression of Bitonto is of a pretty historical town with a strong food tradition. Hopefully I’ll be back to eat some more someday!