Casamassima, Puglia is a unique town in the Bari province of Italy. It’s known for the blue paint on houses and it’s sometimes called the ‘Blue Town of Puglia’.
Join us as we explore this charming town. We’ll highlight why we think that you should visit Casamassima and how to fit it into your itinerary.
Featured Image Attribution: Dentaek, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The History of Casamassima, Puglia
Casamassima in Puglia is a truly old town. The first mention of the settlement goes back all the way to the early 10th century. Those days Casamassima was a small hamlet as the seaside towns dominated the era.
During medieval times, the fruitful fields around Casamassima were heavily utilized and the town cemented itself as an agricultural powerhouse. The town center came alive with weekly markets and the town started growing.
Through the ages, the town saw many conquerors and hardships. Being an agricultural settlement every ruler wanted to control it to feed their people.
In more recent times the town still has its roots heavily in agriculture but it is being discovered as a hidden gem in Puglia due to the unique blue paint on the houses. You can still visit Casamassima in Puglia and avoid mass tourism but we are not sure how long this will be the case.
Where did the blue paint come from?
The blue paint in Casamassima is heavily associated with the black plague. The local legends say that the town became blue after it was safe and has successfully overcome the epidemic.
Blue paint was used to honor Madonna who helped to defend the town against this deadly plague and kept the people safe.
How to get to Casamassima?
You can find Casamassima south of Bari. As Bari is one of the main hubs in the Puglia region we consider Casamassima very easy to visit.
If you want to travel via public transport then we recommend the local train line. You can catch these regional trains from Bari Centrale station. No need to book a ticket in advance as you can buy them at the train station without problems.
In order to visit Casamassima, Puglia via rental car, all you need to do is follow Strada Statale 100. This main freeway passes right next to Casamassima. The whole drive takes roughly 20 minutes so it’s super easy to visit the town via car.
Attractions in Casamassima, Puglia
Now that we are acquainted with the history of the town and on the topic of getting there, it’s time to see the fun stuff. We will take a look at the top things to do in Casamassima during your visit. Don’t forget to keep on reading afterward as we’ll also drop some nice restaurant recommendations.
1. Arco delle Ombre
Arco delle Ombre roughly translates to the Passageway of Shadows. It’s a great picturesque spot with blue buildings around. Many tourists love to take their photos here as you have everything: blue buildings, small passageways, and an oozing Puglia atmosphere.
But why is it called the Passageway of Shadows? As with many things in Puglia this one has a story as well. After the unification of Italy, the passage was opened up to the public and they started using it.
There was just one problem: it was barely lit. This means that people started to carry their own lamps and other light sources when they passed under the arch. The locals thought that from the distance this created a sensation of shadows and ghosts. This is where the name comes from.
2. Chiesa Matrice Parrocchia Santa Croce
A Romanesque church. This is the main church of the town and also the biggest. You will definitely find this church imposing as you explore Casamassima, Puglia. It stands in the middle of the historic center.
Both the outside and inside of this church are fascinating. You can be enchanted by the facade then as you head inside you will be amazed by the big naves and sheer size of this church. The crypt is also awe-inspiring to look upon.
3. The Clock Gate
This is the main city gate and you’ll most likely walk through it as you enter the old town of Casamassima. We always love old city gates in Puglia and this one is a little bit special.
First of all, as it was built in 1841, this city gate is not as old as the others around the region. Secondly, it has a nice clock tower right on top of the gate which makes it a unique sight to see.
4. Monastero Santa Chiara
An imposing monastery in the historic center of Casamassima. Originally, it was built as an orphanage but later in its life, it became a monastery.
Today you can see the beautiful monastery and be amazed by the architecture. Unfortunately, it could use some restoration works but it’s still an impressive piece of architecture.
5. Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale is also known as the Castle in Casamassima, Puglia. The locals gave it the nickname due to the thick walls and fortress-like structure.
Nonetheless, it’s a place with historical significance to the town. Its high rising tower is a major landmark and tourists love to take photos of this beautiful building.
6. Palazzo Monacelle
The Plazzo Monacelle is another palace in the historic center. It’s a beautiful building that you can see both from the inside and outside.
There are temporary and permanent exhibitions in the palace. Although the building is an important architectural attraction, the inside doubles as a museum. Definitely worth a visit, especially if you want to go inside and check out any of the current exhibitions.
7. Chiesetta Rettoria San Michele Arcangelo
Finally, we have an interesting chapel. It’s just down the street from Palazzo Ducale and it’s a tiny building. Regardless, the facade is beautifully decorated and the chapel is devoted to San Michele. It was erected after the plague.
Where to eat in Casamassima?
Now it’s time to hook you up with some great restaurant recommendations. We’ll share with you our favorite places to eat in Casamassima. Whether you are staying for a few hours or planning a longer visit, it’s always good to know some places to eat.
La Retta Via
You will find La Retta Via near the entrance of the historic center in Casamassima. It’s an excellent restaurant that is open both during lunchtime and dinnertime. This is a bonus in these parts of Italy as many restaurants are only open in the evening.
In La Retta Via you can try Italian favorites and experience a homely style of cooking. We recommend this place for lunch if you are in the area.
Are you planning a visit in the morning? Maybe looking for some breakfast and a coffee? Then we recommend Caffè Vittoria for you.
You won’t really have to wander around town to find this place either as it’s super close to La Retta Via. The service is a bit slow but you are in Puglia. Take it slow like the locals.
The pastries are great and the coffee tastes excellent. A good one for breakfast.
Finally, our last recommendation is a pizza restaurant in Casamassima, Puglia. You can reach this place easily as it’s in the city center.
We would recommend some simple pizzas as they make a great dough and a simple topping is the best way to experience it.
In case you are not looking for pizza, then you can also order some other items in Plebiscito Sette. There is a selection of seafood meals. Our pick goes for the shrimp spaghetti here.
If you don’t feel full after eating here then you can try your hand at a nice dessert. We are certain that his restaurant will not disappoint you.
Is it worth visiting Casamassima?
Casamassima in Puglia is an amazing hidden gem. The blue shades of buildings make it stand out amongst the whitewashed villages in Puglia. We recommend that if you are spending more than a week in Puglia, you make an effort to visit Casamassima.
The best thing about this small town is that you can conclude a tourist visit in a few hours. If you rent a car you can easily assign explorer days when you check out multiple small towns in the region. Casamassima can be one such small town.
Even if you want to spend more time in this town you can do that or check into a hotel and see it during night time. Let us tell you that the scenes transform into a romantic setting as soon as the sun sets. It’s just great.