ABOUT & LOCATION
Cisternino is a very shabby-chic style and white washed Medieval village between Ceglie Messapica and Ostuni. It is close to the Adriatic ocean overlooking the Valley D’Itria in the Murgia of Trulli. The “Murge” is a large Apulian centrally located plateau with karst formations which are responsible for the rich soil in limestone, dolomite rocks and the Indiana Jones style caves found throughout Apulia. Valley D’Itria is a small portion of the Puglia territory that is located between the cities of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto in the southern part of the Murge. What makes the area so unique is the building of trulli, which are the unique stone houses found throughout the area in the shape of a cone. The cone is usually painted white while the lower base built out of rocks is grey.
Cisternino is known for excellent shopping, bars, panoramic views, cafes and trattorias. The center piazza boasts an ancient clock tower by which the town is recognized and where people wine, dine, and socialize in the summer evenings. Their is a great cafe right below where you are best off stoping in for ice cream to plan your Apulien excursions. While you stroll through many small charming passages, coming across butcher shops, shoe cobblers, jewelers, fashion shops, and romantic dreamy little apartments built on top of one another you come out to a grand terrace that shows off an amazing view over the Valley D’Itria.
The typical cistranese cuisine reflects the classical traditions of gastronomy in Bari and Murgia. These peasant traditions mainly consist of meats and vegetables with a strong liking for venson dishes.
- Mashed beans
BARS, CAFES, DINING & NIGHTLIFE
There are dozens of cafes and bars here where people gather in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. For those that enjoy it their are even silent disco nights where young people dance the summer evenings away while eating panzerotti and other local delicacies. For cocktails and the best mojito in town you are best of having drinks at the 110 Cavalli Mozzarella Bar and in the mornings taking your coffee and croissant at the cafe across.
In the evenings their are always a number of music festivals, orchestras, and Catholic processions happening throughout the summer season. For dinner we recommend Osteria Sant’Anna which is located by the north east entrance to Cisternino. Our new favorite place with both excellent food and a very diverse wine cellar is called ll Cucco. At the Osteria you are best off trying the pizza while at Il Cucco you will want to give the “Pappardelle al Ragu” a shot with a choice of your favorite Apulien red wine. For those that are after a “macelleria” type of experience we recommend Da Zio Pietro. Cisternino is closest to Villa Cenci in our “Places to Stay” list. It is certainly an ideal central location, with gracious views over the valley, and one of our favorite towns to spend summer evenings in.
FUN FACTS & HISTORY
Cisternino town has 11,696 inhabitants and is apart of the province of Brindisi in Puglia. Until 1927 it was part of the Bari area. Aforementioned it is located on the last strip of the Murgia Pugliese south east 394 meters above sea level, facing south-west onto the Valley D’Itria.
The territory has been inhabited since Paleolithic times stemming from the northern part of the Italian peninsula and from Sicilian-African groups who fixed seasonal camps in this territory in order to dedicate their time to hunting and gathering wild fruits and tuber. On the hills of the Mount Mirror area and the cliffs of Serra Amara prehistoric tools of every kind have been found from spear tips, knives, scrapers to chisels for engraving bone. The communities augmented in size climaxing during the Bronze Age.
Cisternino derives its name from the eponymous hero “Sturnoi” who after the Trojan War founded a nearby town that was later occupied by the Roman, called “Sturninum” todays Ostuni. The town was later on sacked by the Goths and than transformed into a complete ruin. The town center would be reborn thanks to Basilian monks in the Middle Ages. A true testimony to this is the Romanesque church St. Nicholas, a Christian temple that was built around 1000. Pope Alexander III, assigned this church in the year 1180 to the Hamlet of Cisternino and the Bishop of Monopoli.
Since 1861 the population has almost doubled in growth from circa 6,863 people to 13,795 in 2016.
- The Governor’s Palace
- The Bishop’s Palace
- The Amati Palace
- The Lagravinese Palace
- The Devitofranceschi Palace
- The Capece Tower
- Torre di Porta Grande
- Statue of St. Nicholas of Bari
- Church of San Nicola – 14th century built by Christian Byzantine monks that features two highly valued works in stone from the XVI century signed by the sculptor “Stephanus Abulie Poteniani” which is a Madonna and Child known as the “Madonna of Goldfinch” and a small shrine.
- Madonna de Bernis – 3km from town a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Madonna an area rich in ceramics and remains dating back to Roman and medieval times.
LOCAL MASSSERIA’S (Farm homes)
- Masseria Montereale
- Villa Cenci
- Masseria Devitofranceshi
- Costa Masseria
- Masseria Montanaro
PROPERTIES & FOREST
In the Communal Mounts surrounding the town of Cisternino their are about 400 hectares of forest where cerca 245,000 private properties are found at 250-350 meters above sea level. These communal forests are by far the largest formation in the province. Plant life such as Aleppo pines, cypress, native hardwoods including fragno, roach, and holm are all found here. The water cycle stem from the aqueduct Pugliese which is made by the Regione Puglia and runs along the roads between Locorotondo, Cisternino, Ostuni and Ceglie Messapica. The aqueduct is cerca 10,885 km longs and starts at 334 meters above sea level.
LANGUAGE & DIALECT
The dialect spoken in Cisternino is commonly referred to as “Cistranese” remember which is just like “Cegliese” in its sounding but obviously very different. In fact one should not be surprised if the people of Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica have never heard of each other before and if they have boast superiority over one another as is the case all over the world.
TRADITIONS & FOLKLORE
Pasquaredde which is short for Easter Monday is definitely the most anticipated cultural event of the year. This festival takes place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Bernia, where you will bring your boiled eggs in order to bring prosperity and fertility to the family life and to the life that awaits the youth. As you might imagine it is here where many loved ones wish to sacrifice their vows for eternal matrimonial love. If Puglia is not the place to have a Catholic wedding than it certainly must be in another beautiful spot within Bella Italia.
Another important event is the feast of the patron saints where you will find bright decorations, religious events, band concerts and fireworks happening. It occurs in the first week of August, which is the prime summer time where all of Italy is on holiday and is called “The feast of San Quirico”.
Fantastic food festivals which pay homage to “orecchiette, rabbit, and grapes” are held in August and early September as well. “Orecchiette” mean “little ears” and area delicious local style pasta best enjoyed with a classic pomodoro sauce, basil and parmigiano. Don’t worry these words will become apart of your life and culture as the Italian culture is all about food. It is the basis of every conversation besides politics and religion.
- Botanical Conservatory
- Association Desigiste – cultivate the senses for Mediterranean food and culture
- Bhole Baba Foundation – ashram born in 1979 at the behest of the Babaji following Herakhan model. Anyone can choose to join the ashram or attend its meetings throughout the summer months.
A considerable economic growth is occurring in Apulia at the moment due to its growth in the tourism sector, cultivation of olive oil and wine yet its environmental protection and sometimes strict building laws. This is a serious alternative asset in todays world where it is often hard to find beautiful places to live where the food, land and people are pure and unspoiled. It is one of many factors why we choose to promote life for the individuals in the world who cherish beauty, nature and wish to protect it by owning land, property or invest into agricultural endeavors.
Cisternino is connected to a number of provincial roads through what is known as the highway Bari-Lecce or Highway 379 which is an extension of the State Road 16 Adriatica from the city of Bari. Highly convenient is the fact that it is only 80 km to Bari airport and 50 km to Brindisi airport. The town is also connected through the Italian State Railway with its main connection at Fasano and also interlinked with a local municipal bus called TPL. Another important rail link is offered by the South Eastern Railway which is linked with the “Cisternino Railway Station” via Martina Franca and Lecce.
The current mayor of Cisternino is Donato Baccaro serving since 2011. A famous photographer linked to the town is called Lisetta Carmi who founded the aforementioned ashram Bhole Baba. The main sports that are promoted in the town are Basketball, Football and Volleyball organized by Puglia administrations.
When I first arrived in Apulia having lived in major metropolitan cities all over the world I did not fully understand the life and culture here and until this day I am still learning. I believe it is extremely important that those wishing to come here immerse themselves in the local culture, study the language and understand what brings them life here.mI would recommend you study the art of winemaking, olive oil production, the building process of trulli, Masseria’s, be fully aware of the geography and go out and socialize. Your life can only be as complete in Puglia as you choose it to be but the good thing is that Puglia is for the independent spirit and is as forgiving and understanding just as the land is. The restaurant Il Cucco is truly to die for and their are so many interesting Italian people that you meet here that you first dream of becoming friends with them until you dream long enough to be 100% Italian and in time the work pays off. To be Italian and Apulian takes time and we are here to learn this task together with you, share our findings and help guide you towards taking the right steps.
Who does not want to know how to make their own pizza, pasta, cook, understand wine, produce olive oil, build their own home, have an olive oil plantation, live in a farm house, take a vespa down to the ocean in the summer months ? Well common make it all happen already and get cracking at it right now.
CAFES & BARS
- 110 Cavalli Mozzarella Bar
Via San Quirico 24, 72014 Cisternino, BR
- Pharmacy Bar
Via San Quirico, 51/a 72014 Cisternino, BR
- Bar FOD
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 5, 72014 Cisternino, BR
Piazza Pellegino Rossi 27, 72014 Cisternino, BR
- Happy Point – Local Style Lunch
Piazza Navigatori, 4, 72014, Cisternino BR
- Il Cucco – Fine Dining
Corso Umberto I, 137, 72014, Cisternino BR
Tel: +39.080.4444.90.64 Web: Il Cucco
- Da Zio Pietro – Rosticceria
Via Duca D’Aosta, 3, 72014, Cisternino BR
Tel: +39.080.4444.8300 Web: Da Zio Pietro
- Osteria Sant’Anna – Fine Dining
Viale Stazione, 12, Cisternino BR
Tel: +39.080.4444.7036 Web: Osteria Sant’Anna
PLACE TO STAY
Cisternino Contrada Carperi, 72014, Cisternino TR
Phone: +39.080.4444.8208 Web: www.villacenci.com