Ruvo di Puglia

Italy

Back in the 5th to 3rd centuries BC—when Apulia was part of Magna Graecia, or Greater Greece—Ruvo was famous for its ceramics. The town's * Museo Archeologico Nazionale Jatta (Piazza G. Bovio, tel. 080-812-848) may only have four rooms, but it contains one the best collections of Greek pottery in Europe—Greece included. The rooms are stuffed with hundreds of remarkably intact, gorgeously painted Greek and Pugliese ceramics dating back to the 4th century BC, any one of which would be the envy of a major museum. There are vases, plates, oil lamps, huge kraters (used to mix water with wine at parties), and mugs shaped like animal heads—almost all of it in "red figure style" of intricately drawn scenes set against a black background, the characters wining, dining, meeting in battle, riding on monsters. Incredibly, admission is free. It's open daily 8:30am to 1:30pm, Friday and Saturday also 2:30 to 7:30pm.

Ruvo has a second draw to tempt you here off the beaten path: a small but excellent 13th-century Romanesque cathedral. Its steeply gabled roof is ringed with a hanging blind arcade supported on whimsical corbels carved as human and animal heads. The high rose window is surrounded by four angels, while the central portal is flanked by columns that add worn, straining human telamones crouching under the usual lions to support the griffin-topped columns. Many of the capitals of the severe interior (especially those on the right) are carved with figures or crudely medieval biblical scenes.

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Visitor info: Ruvo has a tourist info office at Via Fornello 4, an alley between Piazza G. Bovio and Via Veneto 48 (tel. 080-815-419), in a stump of a tower from the 16th-century Aragonese walls.

How to get to Ruvo di Puglia

The Ferrovia Bari Nord (tel. +39-080-521-3577) runs hourly trains from Bari (50–60 min.).

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Visitor info: Ruvo has a tourist info office at Via Fornello 4, an alley between Piazza G. Bovio and Via Veneto 48 (tel. 080-815-419), in a stump of a tower from the 16th-century Aragonese walls.



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