Monti Dauni: Bovino

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Bovino

The second “green road” that we choose among the many intriguing routes between the Monti Dauni, takes us back to the time when the only road connecting Naples and Puglia was the Strada Regia delle Puglie, which ran along a path more than 430 kilometers long. Along the way travelers encountered various inns and taverns, and way stations where horses were changed.

Our walk starts just from the majestic Posta del Ponte, near Bovino. This was the ancient headquarter of the mail service that can be reached through the bridge over the Cervaro and the monumental Fontana Borbonica. In the neighborhood there is also the Antico Moleno, (Lo Moleno d’acqua del ponte, +39 333 8346883 – lomolenodacquadelponte@gmail.com), a beautiful and still functioning, water mill. Going up the town, you can’t help but realize that you are going through one of the most beautiful areas of Puglia and it is no coincidence that often has been chosen as a set for several films. Two of those shot in Bovino: in 2010 “Noi credevamo” by Mario Martone and two years later “Marina”, by Stijn Coninx inspired by the life of the singer Rocco Granata. A curiosityLuigi Lo Cascio stars in both the movies.

These untouched places are suitable as movies set, as the villages, churches, castles and palaces exude history. So Bovino welcomes you like an old lady with slightly wilted aristocratic features, but still fascinating. The landscape seems to have an old structure, untouched and, possibly, it is still what the Duke Guevara used to watch from the tower of the castle overlooking the village. The Castello Ducale, a building belonging over time to various lords, in the twelfth century hosted Manfredi, son of Frederick II and in 1563 became the property of the family Guevara. Today a wing of the castle is home to the Diocesan Museum, while on the other side there is the charming B&B Residenza Ducale (tel. +39 328 8427433 – +39 912 015 0881 – info@residenzaducale.it) where there is even a corner , where sitting on an old you can have your hair and beard done.
In the town center, between well-kept buildings and old houses in stone that seem to “emerge” from the rocks, and that in most cases are built on ancient Roman cisterns then turned into wine cellars, the Romanesque Cathedral stands out for its asymmetrical shape. Above the rose window there is an ox with broken horns, while the three portals are decorated with floral and animal motifs. Inside the marble roman columns and shelves used as capitals: of great importance the one with San Daniele in the lions’ den.
As you walk through the alleys to reach the “Buco di San Marco”, according to tradition, dug in the rock by the saint himself with a finger in order to open the doors of the town, you cannot help but notice the elegance of the stone portals of the palaces of Bovino. And then you start feeling peckish.

Traditional Food? You stop at La Cantina of the young and talented Nicola Consiglio, who among the ancient walls of a building near the Cathedral (via Giovanni Barone 1, +39 389 7897956 – +39 961 849 0881) offers excellent cold cuts and cheese production of the family business Piana delle Mandrie, as well as special local dishes, from vegetables to the ever-present pork.
To sleep, the hospitality of a small B&B on the main floor of an ancient building with five rooms elegantly furnished with designer pieces: Camera a Sud (Piazza Marino Boffa 13-14-15, +39 0881 966 073 – 39 347 Gaetano 4895141; +39 340 9626317 Michele – info@cameraasudbovino.it). In the morning, a hearty breakfast and then a visit to the Civic Museum named after Carlo Gaetano Nicastro and housed in the Palazzo Pisani. Here the “stars” are the anthropomorphic stelae of the third millennium BC.

We recommend a walk between Bovino and Deliceto to the nineteenth-century Masseria Salecchia that, surrounded by 200 hectares of forest, offers a blast from the past with its dairy products made in the old way and excursions through the trees for children and adults. Ideal for those who want to eat healthily, to spend relaxing days even with your dog (+39 340 7745309 – +39 345 6434437 – info@masseriasalecchia.it). Even those who choose to stay at Il Trifoglio (Piazza Giovanni XXIII 15, +39 0881 961205 – +39 347 4895141 – +39 335 8223301), also a property of the Nicastros who own Camera a Sud, can bring his four legged friend, while for fans of well-being, the ideal is Palazzo San Procopio, a B&B housed in an old building with a spa and an incredible, postcard like view on the village (+39 0881 961926 – info@lepietredelborgo.it).

(Traduzione di Monia Saponaro)