Conversano lies about 30 km from Bari, in an area of the countryside dominated by limestone plateaus. A city of art, its history is inextricably linked with figure of Girolamo II Acquaviva of Aragon, the “Guercio delle Puglie” or “roving-eyed” feudal lord of Apulia.
The Court Esplanade, the highest point of the city, offers exceptional and sweeping views out over the whole of the surrounding landscape. The enchanting old town, girdled by the remains of the massive ancient city wall, is full of interesting historical buildings.
The Acquaviva family castle houses paintings that include Paolo Finoglio’s “Jerusalem Delivered” series, two sections on the second floor, dedicated to the city factions and period costumes, a conference room and a space dedicated to contemporary exhibitions and forms part of a combined Museum Hub along with the Archaeological Museum in the former Monastery of San Benedetto.
Another site of major importance is the Church of Santi Medici Cosma e Damiano (the Physician Saints Cosmas and Damian; XVII century) which was built by order of Count Giangirolamo II Acquaviva of Aragon and became the seat of Italy’s second shrine of the cult of Saint Rita of Cascia.
Outside the town lies the Castle of Marchione, once a country hunting lodge owned by the aristocratic Acquaviva of Aragon family. Conversano also offers the opportunity to see an interesting natural phenomenon, that of the local “Lakes” – ten limestone depressions at the foot of the hills that are transformed after the rains into small lakes teeming with reptiles and amphibians. The “Lakes” are best explored on foot or by bicycle.