A city with a history dating back 2,700 years, with much to tell and many traces left behind by the populations that have inhabited this area over the centuries. Strolling through the city’s streets, visitors can breathe the air of a typical southern Italian town: a laid back lifestyle, people chatting with friends, merchandise on display by street vendors, the aroma of coffee drifting out of the bars…
During the morning, it can be quite pleasant to visit the market by the city walls, which can be accessed through the arcades of Piazza Pitagora (Pythagoras square). You’ll be dazzled by the bright colours of the fruits and vegetables, which change every season, crowding the vendors’ stalls. The vendors also offer a number of unusual traditional foods items, such as snails, known in the local dialect as “dormituri”, or dormants, as they are collected during hibernation.
The old town centre is a maze of lanes and alleyways, sometimes just one metre wide. Up until a century ago, the entire population lived in the area protected by the large city walls, which were necessary to defend against pirate raids.
According to the Mediterranean tradition, the siesta (the afternoon break) lasts more or less from 1 pm to 5 pm. During these hours, above all on hot summer afternoons, only bars, restaurants, banks and post offices are open to the public. In fact, this is an excellent time of the day to take a stroll along the waterfront, to enjoy an ice cream or to visit the national museum.