Galatina bears witness to an ancient artistic splendor that reached the highest levels already in the 14thcentury with the works commissioned by the aristocrat family Orsini del Balzo. During the 17thcentury urban expansion were built many churches and elegant palaces decorated with imposing portals and balconies. The town’s most celebrated monument is the Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Built in Apulian Romanesque style and featuring three portals carved in limestone, the church is annexed to an 18th century frescoed cloister.
The mother church dating from the mid-14th century and dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul has been for years at the centre of the traditional "processione dei tarantolati", a ritual evoking religious awe and pagan mirth celebrated until a few decades ago.
Taking into account its numerous urban functions and role in the provincial context (a poly-centric territory with 97 towns), the local administration has started to develop a long-term strategy for improving city living conditions (e.g. through a number of urban regeneration projects) as well as accessibility and attractiveness of its historic centre, both for changing the citizens’ perception of the centre as a safe and vibrant public space and for accommodating the needs of the rising number of tourists visiting the city especially during summer.
Galatina is one of the few Apulian cities that has adapted and approved its Master plan in line with the new Regional Law on Urban Development and has started a process for increasing cycling and walking conditions in the town.
A number of planned interventions on road and cycling infrastructures (mostly on the southeast outer ring) have been plugged into the design of a first urban cycling network.
This has been done also thanks to the project “CONTESTO MOBILE”, a participatory process involving several stakeholders and students that has already identified a number of possible actions to make Galatina more cycling friendly. Within the same project also possible extension of LEZ and 30 Km/h Zone have been discussed.
Galatina has also a railway station (FSE Local Railways) and a long established city bus network (4 lines on 46 km covering around 170.000km/y and connecting all its 3 suburbs) thus reproducing all the typical sustainable mobility services of a bigger city and has therefore a great take-up potential also for increasing the modal share of public transport .
Despite these positive framework conditions and plans, current urban mobility patterns are still too focused on motorised transport (cars, vans and mopeds).