Palazzo Baldassarre

Palazzo Baldassarre Hours & Rates

Monday closed

March - September: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

October - February: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Guided visit and admission rates

Regular: 4 EUR

School groups, age 6-13: 2 EUR pp (per person)

Groups minimum 10 visitors: 3 EUR pp

Teachers, group leaders, guides, travel agents/operators, children under 5: free admission

Location: Altamura historical district, via F.lli Baldassarre, angolo via Griffi - 70022 Altamura (BA)
Tel: 0039 3402645147

Palazzo Baldassarre, an interesting example of secular architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries, hosts an information desk providing details of the entire circuit of museums, sites and monuments in the region.

The layout is based on the theme of the biological evolution of mankind, dwelling on the geological and climate-related factors that lie behind the region's hominisation process, exploring the timing, places, modalities and chance factors that came into play, and using panels and replicas of the most important palaeoanthropological finds.  The unquestioned star of the display is the Altamura Fossil, one of the most interesting fossil finds of the Neanderthal era, with an illustration of the interdisciplinary resarch conducted on the fossil to date.  The display also includes a life-size reproduction of the "apse", the part of the cave of Lamalunga where the Neanderthal skeleton was discovered.


The three major areas of Puglia, Gargano, Le Murge and Salento, are marked by the characteristic physical elements of a karstic landscape. The karstic landscape is characterised by sparse vegetation, a surface made up of sharp rocks and structures, like furrows and dolines, produced by corrosive and erosive water activity. One of the largest dolines, the Pulo of Altamura (500–700 m in diameter; 100 m deep), was formed by the intense activity of two tributary rivers that created a karstic surface system with the formation of an immense cave affected by a chain reaction of collapses.

The most important underground forms of karstification are caves, which are widespread throughout all of Puglia and especially in the Le Murge area.

Local geology

The main stages of the geological history of Puglia can be framed in the context of the geological processes that shaped the evolution of the area of the Mediterranean concerning the formation of the Italian peninsula. In the development of the Apennine orogeny, Puglia acted as the foreland, which is to say the continental mass that served as an obstacle to the orogenic push from another mass. Le Murge is the central portion of the Apulian Foreland, a region almost entirely made up of carbon-rich rock from the Cretaceous Period.

All of the territory of the High Murge is characterised by a harsh, barren karstic landscape dominated by furrowed fields and the pseudo-steppe, punctuated by small, fertile cultivated valley floors, little walls and small drystone buildings. This territory presents a happy melding of geodiversity and biodiversity, combined with the millenary presence of humankind integrated with an environment that is anything but easy to live in.

Fossils and dinosaurs

Fossils are found embedded in the abundant sedimentary rock in the upper part of the earth’s crust. In addition to the remains of living organisms, fossils also include traces of the activity of organisms, such as footprints, dens and excrement (coprolite). Fossil size ranges from the few thousandths of a millimetre of certain microorganisms, which can only be seen under a microscope, to the tens of metres in length of large dinosaurs. The fossilised remains found in Apulian limestone belonged to sea organisms like rudists, ‘nerinee’ gastropods and foraminifers, organisms that went extinct during the Cretaceous Period, around 65 million years ago. In the area of Altamura, there is an exceptional dinosaur track site in the Pontrelli quarry, with thirty thousand footprint fossils of dinosaurs who lived during the Late Cretaceous Period (85 million years ago).