Santo Spirito is a charming fishing village, built in a natural bay to north of the metropolitan city of Bari. In the past it used to be the seaside resort and fishing port of Bitonto, the annexation in the town of Bari dates back to 1928. The discovery of a Roman ship and some amphorae on the seabed near the port area suggests that since ancient times this inlet had been used as a docking point for small ships. According to some stories passed down, Santo Spirito would have been the resting place of St. Francis of Assisi on his return from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. With the expansion of construction and maritime, agricultural and craft activities in the first half of the 1800s, the economic development of Santo Spirito started to book until it soon became an ideal place to spend the summer holidays. Santo Spirito is currently a tourist place located in a strategic point which is about five minutes from Palese airport and well connected with the railways to other coastal cities. There are also several B&B, apartments and hotels at prices significantly lower than those in Bari city centre.
Walking on the little harbour during windy and sunny days you will be struck by the intense blue sky and overwhelmed by the smell of the sea. The little harbour can accommodate over five hundred boats and those used for fishing are moored on the old pier. Every afternoon the fishermen bring their catch to the market located at the shore of the little harbour and put it on special benches under sheds. People usually come here to buy fresh fish.
Turning on the right towards the centre, stands Piazza San Francesco where there is a beautiful bronze statue of the saint. Marina is the favourite gathering place not only for families but also for groups of people and youngsters. Here, in fact there are ice cream parlours, pubs, pizzerias and restaurants offering various fish food menus. Walking on the narrow streets in front of marina you will be enveloped in the by the intense fragrant of croissants in the morning and freshly baked focaccia later on the day. Santo Spirito promenade is the ideal place for walking or cycling, to enjoy the Levantine breeze during sunny days. Its coastline offers miles of free beaches which are easily accessed through entrances and rocky steps. To the right of the little harbour stands the Tower which is the symbol of this fishing village. At sunset, the Tower takes on a warm colour with golden hues and the sky and sea will amaze onlookers.
Santo Spirito is distinguished by the presence of elegant palaces and villas built by the noble families of Bitonto at the end of the 1800s which are scattered all over the village. The most elegant villas are located in Via Umberto and all are bearing a female name. Walking in spring along the streets of the village you will be pervaded by the pleasant smell of orange flowers and other citrus fruits that sometimes mix with the more intense wisteria. Some big villas have a well maintained large park with paths and fountains well-equipped for ceremonies and receptions of all kinds, thanks to their elegant and large rooms.
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