Foggia is a comune in the southern region of Apulia in Italy; this city has a population of 154,000 and has historically been known as the Granary of Italy. This area of the Apulia has been inhabited since the Neolithic period and one of the first recognized colonies was the Greek Argos Hippium. During subsequent years the surrounding marshland was drained to create fertile land that was ripe for farming etc.
During the Middle Ages, Foggia became part of the Roman Empire and Frederick II invested in the city by building various palaces and churches. Throughout this period, the economy of Foggia rose and fell as different rulers changed taxes and laws. In recent history, Foggia has served as an important hub between northern and southern Italy.
In terms of tourism, Foggia is not a typical destination that many would visit however it has a stunning amount of sites and some truly beautiful architecture such as the Duomo and the Cheisa delle Croci. Furthermore, Foggia’s proximity to the eastern coast of Italy means that from here you can explore parks such as Gargano, and the gorgeous Tremiti Islands.
Lets explore the best things to do in Foggia:
1. Cattedrale di Foggia
Located in the Piazza Francesco de Sanctis, the Cathedral of Foggia is the main religious building of the city and stoands proudly against the relative low-rise surroundings.
Originally constructed in the 1100’s, the cathedral was restored in the 1700’s after an earthquake damaged much of its front façade.
Featuring a beautiful Baroque style, the front of the cathedral has some fantastic decoration and intricate stone work.
Inside, the cathedral is richly decorated and its windows allow in a great deal of light that cascades down onto the old wooden seats.
Furthermore, there is an ornate organ, and many colourful religious paintings.
2. Piazza Umberto Giordano
As one of the main squares in Foggia, the Piazza Umberto Giordano is a great place to relax and enjoy the fine Italian weather.
This square is surrounded by fantastic shopping opportunities and contains a great deal of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants for your pleasure.
Furthermore, the square itself has a central pedestrianized area with some beautiful trees and seats where you can simply kick back, relax and watch the world go by.
Alternatively, if you want a spot of sight-seeing, the Church of Gesu e Maria sits proudly on the square with its ornate Romanesque façade.
3. Villa Comunale – Parco Karol Wojtyla
This immense stretch of parkland and public garden stretches for some 600m in the eastern part of Foggia’s city centre.
Starting at the Piazza Camilo Benso Conte, the front of the garden is lined with a beautiful white stone columned walkway and leads into a landscaped square contained a series of flower displays.
As you continue, a wide open boulevard stretches for some 400m and is lined with gorgeous trees.
Furthermore there is a series of footpaths, fountains, statues and sculptures, plus a wonderful shaded area at the back of the park that is covered with trees.
4. Palazzo Dogana
Located in the heart of the city centre, the Dogana Palace stands as one of Foggia’s landmarks and has been an important structure in the city’s history for hundreds of years.
This fine building dates back to the 15th century and is one of the oldest standing structures in Foggia – it originally served as a customs centre until it was converted ino the palatial seat of the Province of Foggia.
Whilst walking through the historic city centre, the palace is a fantastic building to admire, and it also hosts a museum containing a brilliant collection of contemporary and modern art.
5. Museo del Territorio
If you want to learn about the history of this charming region of Italy, the Museum of the Territory is the perfect place to visit.
You can find this museum on the Via Pasquale Fuiani in close proximity to the Commune and Cathedral.
Once inside the museum you will find a fantastic variety of exhibitions and displays relating to the history of the Capitanata population during the Christian Era.
Items on display include coins, burial remains, pottery, cermaics, clothing and other houseware.
Each display is presented fantastically and in great detail, and also provides a clear explanation of what is being viewed.
6. Parco Nazionale del Gargano
This national park takes its name from the monumental Mount Gargano and is a protected area on the eastern coast of Italy, approximately 40 minutes’ drive to the north of Foggia.
Covering a staggering 118,000 hectares, it is one of the largest in the country, and is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and sweeping stretches of rocky coastline.
This park presents numerous opportunities including hiking through the woodlands and mountains, or visiting the small coastal towns such as Vieste.
Furthermore you can explore the coastline and find secluded hidden beaches such as Cala di Porto Greco near the Portogreco tower.
7. Tremiti Islands
This small archipelago located off the north coast of the Parco Nazionale del Gargano provides a fantastic opportunity to escape and explore a different way of life.
You can reach the Tremiti Islands via a ferry from Termoli or Rodi which are both coastal towns approximately 30 minutes from Foggia.
San Domino and San Nicola are the main inhabited islands and provide most of the facilities for tourists.
Diving is a popular pastime here due to the beautifully clear waters and abundance of aquatic life that surrounds Tremiti.
Alternatively, you can explore the islands on foot, admire the rugged landscapes or explore the coastal caves.
8. Duomo Lucera
Lucera has a spot in this top 15, but its Cathedral deserves a mention in its own right.
Created in the 14th century, the current iteration of the cathedral has stood for hundreds of years and has a Gothic style which is very unusual for buildings in the Apulia region of Italy – this is more typical of French architecture.
The front façade of the church has a light orange design with ornate windows and a decorative bell tower.
Moreover, the interior also features a French Gothic design with a series of pointed stained glass windows and a plethora of rich decoration.
Furthermore there is also a range of religious frescos and opulent gold and bronze fixtures such as a crucifix and altar pieces.
9. Enjoy a traditional meal at the Osteria Numero Dieci
Foggia has a great selection of eateries, but the Osteria Numero Dieci is one of the finest establishments if you are looking for a quality meal.
This restaurant is located in the heart of the city in close proximity to the Parco Karol Wojtya and the Palazzo Dogana.
Osteria Numero Dieci provides a host of Italian and Mediterranean dishes to suit your tastes all home-made and using as many local ingredients as possible.
The service is second to none, the food top quality, and the atmosphere is peaceful and laid back.
Dishes include pasta, meat and seafood, all of which come beautifully prepared.
10. Enjoy a drink at the Anfi Pub
Foggia is not known for its nightlife, but the Anfi Pub is as good a venue as any to enjoy a few drinks and mingle with the locals.
Although located on the outskirts of the town, taxis are available and the atmosphere and variety of drinks will more than make up for this fact.
Aside from the extensive bar menu, the pub also serves a variety of typical pub meals and light bites, and it also hosts a regular karaoke night.
Many locals come here for the lively atmosphere and the reasonable prices.
11. Chiesa delle Croci
You will not find another church such as this throughout Italy and the design of the Chiesa delle Croci is marvellous indeed.
You can find this strange monument in the northern part of the historic city centre of Foggia approximately 15 minutes’ walk from the cathedral.
At the front of this church is a series of 5 ornate exterior chapels that you can walk through to get to the main building.
Created in 1693, the complex has a baroque design and is the only listed national monument in Foggia.
Inside the church is a plethora of decoration but the grounds and the arches are undoubtedly the main attraction.
12. Visit the charming town of Lucera
For a true slice of rural Italian life, the town of Lucera is a wonderful place to visit and is located only 20 minutes to the west of Foggia.
With a population of 34,000 this small town has a labyrinth of small, narrow winding streets packed full with typical Mediterranean buildings.
Walking through the city centre will provide you with a look at local life and allow you to admire some intriguing architecture.
Although small in size, Lucera has a plethora of sites including its large Cathedral, Hohenstaufen Castle, and the impressive ancient Roman Amphitheatre.
13. Castello Svevo Aragonese Manfredonia
Manfredonia is a small town on the coast of Italy within the Parco Gargano region and lies approximately 40 minutes to the north of Foggia.
In its own right, the town is a great location to visit and has several historic buildings, a port and even a beach.
One of the main attractions however is the impressive Castle Aragonese.
Constructed in 1279, this castle was created by Pierre d’Angicourt and served as a major fortification during the Aragonese era of Italy.
Today you can see the remarkably well maintained structure in all its glory, walk along the ramparts and battlements and visit the interesting archaeological museum held within its walls.
14. Museo Civico
The Foggia Civic Museum serves as a fantastic addition to the Museo del Territorio and offers an interesting look at the history of the region, dating as far back as the Neolithic age.
Located in the Piazza Nigri in the northern section of the old town centre, the museum is easily accessible on foot.
Within this establishment you will find a great display of artefacts and relics from various periods of history; these include archaeological finds from the near bye site of Arpi, reconstructions of traditional terrace houses, collections of jewels, ornaments and statues, and a series of valuable paintings from notable artists of the region.
15. Take a walking tour of the historic city centre
Centred around the Palazzo Dogana, the historic city centre of Foggia is a beautiful place to explore and provides much in the terms of sites and history.
Starting at the palace, you can head into the Quartieri Settecenteschi for a true slice of local life – here you will find a series of tightly packed streets lined with colourful houses and buzzing with local activity.
Alternatively you can head onto the Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi and see some of the main architectural sites including the Comune Di Foggia and the Piazza Internati in Germania.
Along the way you will find a host of charming cafes and restaurants if you wish to stop for a bite to eat or a coffee.