1. Lucera: 2-hr Guided Tour of Amphitheater, Church & Fortress
Your tour begins at the entrance of Lucera’s amphitheater. This stunning theater dates back to the Augustan era and is the largest and oldest of its kind in southern Italy. In its heyday it held over 16,000 spectators. Walk through the Ionic columns of its entrance into the arena which is bordered by a water collection channel. Explore the whole amphitheater complex which contains a gallery underneath the arena, a gym for the athletes, as well as an infirmary. Travel to the other side of town and see the Swabian-Angevin fortress. This impressive medieval fortress was built on the Albano hill in the 13th-century and an important Muslim settlement. It once housed 60,000 Muslims who had traveled from Sicily and were loyal to the Swabian family. See the remains of the Frederician Palatium, the massive 13-meter high wall which extended for 900 meters. Admire the Tower of the Lioness, the sturdy tower which looks over the fortress. Continue to Lucera’s historic center and visit the Cathedral Basillica of Santa Maria Assunta. This church was built by Charles II of the Angevin family in 1302, and is thought to have been built upon the remains of a Saracen mosque. Enter it’s side alter and see the wooden statue of Santa Maria. Gaze at the altar of the Presbytery where the remains of Castel Fiorentino, the canteen of Emperor Fredereick II of the Holy Roman Empire are stored.