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Monopoli After Dark: A Journey Through the Heart of Puglia's Coastal Gem

Updated: May 20

Take a walk through the enchanting coastal town of Monopoli after dark! From stunning sunsets to vibrant nightlife, discover the soul of southern Italy.
An aerial view of the town of Monopoli, with views of the shoreline. The city is cast in a warm glow from the sun just beginning to set.
Monopoli at dusk. Photo by Kelly Lacy.

As the sun sets over the Adriatic Sea, casting a golden glow on the whitewashed buildings of Monopoli, a town in the region of Puglia, it comes alive with the promise of an unforgettable evening. Nestled along the stunning coastline of southern Italy, Monopoli beckons travellers with its rich history, charming streets, and vibrant culture.

This came as the last leg of a long weekend getaway to Italy’s southeast region, the final night after travelling to Matera and Alberobello. Though we were only able to admire this coastal gem by dusk and moonlight, it was still a great opportunity to explore the sights, sounds, and flavours from a single evening in Monopoli.

Coastal Strolls and Sunset Views in Monopoli

A sandy beach with small cliffs framing it. Beyond the water, the sun is setting in a pinkish-yellow.
Sunset at the beautiful Lido Cala Paradiso. Photo by Emily Fata.

When we arrived at our Airbnb in Monopoli, we decided to go to a nearby beach before dinner, called Lido Cala Paradiso. As the sky painted itself in hues of orange and pink, we found the perfect spot to watch the sun dip below the horizon, casting a soft glow over the sea. Here, we laid down a towel on the sand, sat, and talked for an hour amongst ourselves as we mindlessly watched darkness fall over the beach and the waves of the sea quietly lap against the shore. There were very few others on the beach, making it nice and peaceful.

While it was quiet when we arrived, you could tell by the numerous lounger chair rentals surrounding a roped off al fresco bar that during the daytime, this was a popular spot to be. The beautiful, clean shoreline and multiple spots to climb and take photos would make it an incredible spot whether you want to laze around listening to the waves all afternoon or prefer to mill around, taking pictures and traversing around a mix of sandy beach and rocky shorelines.

Culinary Delights and Local Flavours

A beautiful round pizza with cheese and topped with fried zucchini.
A vegetarian pizza at Apīcia. Photo by Emily Fata.

Eventually, our stomachs got the best of us and we Googled pizzerias in the area with high ratings, landing on one on Via Cappuccini, called Apīcia, in the more ‘modern’ area of the town. The menu looked enticing, with plenty of options for everyone, and we headed off to find it.

The restaurant was on a (relatively) main road, so finding parking was quite the task; we ended up leaving the car on a side street further out and traipsing towards the food. By the time we sat down and looked through the menu, my stomach felt like it was digesting itself and—as you may have even experienced yourself—sometimes its even more difficult to decide on something to eat when you’re so hungry.

Regardless, I ended up landing on a white pesto pizza with cheese and fried zucchini, but not before ordering an arancino to take the edge of hunger off while I waited. Of course, there were also piles of French fries shared among our group, as no outing with my cousin is complete without a mountain of patatine.

Historic Treasures and Hidden Gems

With darkness now fully settled over Monopoli, we ventured into the historic heart of the town, where narrow cobblestone streets led us through its maze. Like most of Italy, each corner revealed a new interesting element to be found.

While almost everything was closed, we could still see the façades of baroque churches, some adorned with intricate frescoes, centuries-old homes and buildings steeped in stories of bygone eras, and hidden courtyards adorned with blooming flowers that were beautiful even by the light of streetlamps.

An aerial view of Monopoli and the Adriatic Sea cast in an orange-pink glow from the sunset.
A beautiful sunset over Monopoli. Photo by Kelly Lacy.

Eventually, we make our way to the seaside docks to enjoy the Adriatic coast by moonlight. The quietened sound of waves lapping against the shore is perfect soundtrack to an evening. From here, you could see the boats bobbing along the water, lights flickering from the distance as if saying “hello” to the people watching from the shores of Monopoli.

People Watching and Community Vibes

A woman in a purple floral sundress kisses the cheek of a giant topiary shaped like a male lion.
Kisses to topiaries. Photo by Emily Fata.

After walking along the waterfront for a bit, we decided to find a restaurant that was still open to grab a drink. As the night came to a close, we found ourselves sitting at an outdoor patio, ordering specialty cocktails and watching passerby. Being completely immersed in the vibrant energy of Monopoli's bustling streets is effortless; locals and visitors alike filled the piazze and promenades, enjoying the balmy September evening air and lively atmosphere.

In one direction, you could see a group of teenagers sitting on the steps of an old church, talking and laughing amongst themselves. In another, people were walking along the street—some deep in conversation and others with their eyes wandering around to take in their surroundings. Of course, in our immediate vicinity, were people enjoying a drink or late night snack with each other.

By the time we were ready to return to the car to drive back to the Airbnb, Monopoli had grown quiet and relatively still, returning home to sleep.

All in All

A single evening in Monopoli is all it takes to fall under the spell of this enchanting coastal town. From its pizza to its history, all he way to the bustling nightlife, Monopoli offers a glimpse into the soul of southern Italy. Regardless of how you spend your evening, this Apulia town entrances visitors with its undeniable charm and timeless beauty.

Ready to experience the charm of Monopoli for yourself? Plan your own evening adventure and discover the beauty of Italy’s south. From historic landmarks to culinary gems and vibrant community vibes, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime!



Richard Lowe Jr
Richard Lowe Jr
May 24

This looks like a lovely city. Some day I'll get there for a visit.


Renata Feyen
Renata Feyen
May 20

It sounds so great, I would love to go to Italy in the near future. Me and my hubby love everything about Italy

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