A stone's throw away from the coastline and immediately to the west of Bari is the town of Bitonto. Surrounded by endless olive groves, it has earned the nickname “City of Olives”, and produces some of the most renowned olive oil in the world. The city was founded by the Peucetii, and according to myths was named after the Ilyrian king Botone. Within the Norman walls can be found evidence of the original city walls, dating back to the 4th Century BC.
In the early 18th Century, the Battle of Bitonto during the War of Polish Succession resulted in victory for the Spanish army against the Austrians, securing the city for the Bourbons.
Bitonto cathedral, Cattedrale di San Valentino, is the largest in Puglia, but despite its size the Romanesque building is not one of the most well known. It is built on the site of an ancient church which was constructed in the 5th-6th Century, soon after Puglia converted to Christianity. The current Norman construction was completed in the second half of the 12th Century and features a well preserved griffin floor mosaic and a number of fascinating sculptures.
There are a couple of museums of note – the Museo Diocesano and Pinacoteca with a collection of paintings from 1200-1700; and the Museo Civico containing many local archaeological finds. The only remains of the 13th Century Norman castle is the Round Tower, located in the Piazza Cavour.