Three kinds of spaces come to mind when thinking of Bisceglie, three physical and mental places linked by a fine thread, many different types of light and three histories that connect the life of Bisceglie to that of the territory. On one hand, the historical urban centre, gathered around the harbour – a fishing harbour, a colourful and dense residential area, which makes you want to venture within the Aragonese city walls, still well-preserved. In the centre is the beautiful and valuable Cathedral, along with the Castle founded by the Swabians, and the little jewels of Romanesque art like San John in Castro or Saint Adoeno, which punctuate a dense and well-built Medieval city layout. A walk through the old town will inevitably carry you to the tree-lined main plaza, rectangular and truly gigantic, which is a juncture for the streets of the modern city and which is crossed by the main road to Bari.
On the other hand, the seaside city, the sea of those who do not fish, but “go to the beach.” A long ribbon that starts at the city, but at a distance from the harbour – and ends, towards Trani, at the physical limit of a spectacular “flood ground.” This strip is dedicated to seaside tourism, but, strangely, is still called “countryside” by city residents. And, effectively, it is a sea-countryside: the north-west coast, recently and courageously renovated, has a long stretch of short stone walls, which, on the sea side are equipped with stairs for easily reaching the rock or pebble beaches, but which are also enclosures for the strip on the other side which is not a marine landscape, but an agricultural landscape mixed in with the tourist area: fields of crops and gardens, oleanders and cacti, grass lawns and portions of fruit orchards, olive groves and campgrounds, thistles and flowering creepers.
Heading inland, away from the sea, the countryside returns to a decidedly rural landscape and all signs of tourism disappear, the residential area thins out and the search for prehistoric traces can begin. Human inhabitation of this area dates back to the Paleolithic Age; an example is the extremely famous Dolmen, which appears suddenly amongst the olive groves, in bright light and to the chirping of the cicadas in the summer. These three atmospheres (to which a third can be added, more ephemeral, but no less intriguing: the nightlife of the entertainment industry, which calls rivers of people to its discotheques, bars and “cool” spots) define Bisceglie. It is not a compact city, but should be perceived while moving through the territory, entering a “carrara” (the old streets through the cultivated fields by the sea) and popping out onto the coast with its blinding light, to then cool off in the darker old town or on the harbour, to then take a walk in the plaza, mingling with the numerous citizens who still gather there to chat or stroll, and then to take the car and visit the magical prehistoric places; until countryside, sea and history weld themselves into a single image of the city.