South of Monopoli we were looking for the Ancient city of Egnazia, at the Via Traiana.
Outside the museum we found the necropolis, which was interesting to compare with the ones we had seen in Turkey.
After a short walk we reached the remains of the town near the sea. The city was already destroyed in 545 by the Ostrogoth king Totila. The inhabitants fled to Monopoli a little bit further north and the stones were used to build other places. Therefore not very much is left, but the archeological site gives an impression of the former city, especially the remains of the Via Traiana were interesting.
The Via Appia is a Roman road that runs about 540 km from Rome to Brindisi, which was an important harbour for the connection to Greece. Emperor Trajan had another route laid out via Bari, which represented a shortcut of one to two days journey. This meant that the travel time from Rome to Brindisi was reduced from around fourteen days to twelve to thirteen days. This route led through Egnazia.
We also visited the old part of Monopoli, with its old harbour, fortress, many churches and labyrinthine alleys.
We are going inland next, to explore the famous Trulli houses of Alberobello – more on our next post!