Bitonto is a city of approximately 60.000 inhabitants, situated north of Bari. Due to the extensive olive groves surrounding it, Bitonto is also known as the “City of Olive Trees”. Its oil production was already popular during the XIII century. It was then improved in the XX century and it nowadays still represents the city’s main source of income.

On May 26, 1734 the Austrians and the Bourbons fought in Bitonto the battle that created the Kingdom of Naples as an independent state.

Its old town, now a cultural site and touristic attraction thanks to its many beauties, is characterized by several churches, including the Romanesque Cathedral, and a number of remarkable examples of Renaissance architecture, such as the Sylos-Vulpano and the Sylos-Calò Palaces.

The historic centre is also home to a multitude of cultural venues which host exhibitions, concerts, festivals and plays all year long. Among these, the Teatro Comunale “Tommaso Traetta”, dedicated to the local composer and main venue of the Traetta Opera Festival.

Bitonto Photo Gallery

Teatro Comunale “Tommaso Traetta”


Located at the edge of the old town and named after the local composer, the city theatre was inaugurated in 1838 with the staging of the opera “Parisina” by Gaetano Donizetti. It was the first permanent theatre in the Province of Bari.

It was built at the behest of twenty-one noble families, who for the purpose established a limited company. It costed them 8,500 ducats. The project of the theatre was set up by the architect Luigi Castelluci, who belonged to the Neapolitan school and was already known for having planned other buildings in Bitonto. The structure is that of the so-called Italian theatre, which is made up of different orders of loges, one on top of the other, in the shape of a horseshoe (in this case, the stalls and four orders make up a total of about 250 seats).

After having be converted to a cinema, in 1950 the theatre was closed. In 1972 the ceiling collapsed. In 1989 the ownership passed to the municipal administration, which in 1998 allocated the founds for its restoration. The theatre was then opened in 2005.




Bitonto Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Valentine, was erected at the heart of the city between the XI and XII century in Apulian Romanesque style, on the model of the Basilica of San Nicola in Bari. It is regarded as the most complete and highest expression of the Apulian Romanesque, also on grounds of its richly carved portal and rose window, the first in Apulia to have an archivolt with a sphinx on top of it and two lions on pensile columns.

A mosaic portraying a griffin has been found in the crypt. The building should have been preceded by a portico, as proven by the remains of the imposts of the arches on the piers of the façade, but it had actually never been built.

According to written sources, the Diocese of Bitonto dates back to 1089, when it was led by Bishop Arnolfo. It lasted until 1986, when it was merged with the Archdiocese of Bari.

It hosts the parish of the Assumption of Mary.