Castellaneta
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CASTELLANETA

In the province of Taranto where the geographic area is characterised by the presence of ravines, is where Castellaneta is situated.

Its origins date back to the Bronze Age (3.500-1.200 BC), as shown by finds of vases and axes in the Minerva area. These settlements were probably first realised by the Siculi and then the Lapigi.
The 5th Century BC, saw the beginning of the Hellenistic period in all Messapian centres, guided by the powerful Taranto.
In 272 BC, Taranto was conquered by the Romans, who in this way, subdued the whole of Puglia.
The City of Minerva was therefore integrated in the important arterial commercial track called Via Appia (Appian Way). This fact guaranteed the City’s prosperity for the entire Imperial period.
The end of the Roman Empire coincided with the besiegement and destruction of Minerva by the Visigoths of Alarica (411 AD) and the subsequent dispersion of the its population over the whole territory.
After the Ostrogoth Empire period in Italy (476-535) and the Greek-Gothic war fought against the Goths of the Byzantine General Belisario (535-553), the City was refounded in 550 and renamed Castanea.
Successive Barbaric invasions during the 9th Century along the territorial coasts of Puglia, determined escape by coastal inhabitants towards the interior and the unification and enlargement of the centre of Castanea, which took the name of Castellum Unitum, and subsequently modified to Castellanetum.
After being at the centre of clashes between the Longobards and the Byzantines for more than four centuries, Castellaneta was taken by the Normans in 1064 and became an Episcopal seat in 1080.
With the advent of the Swabians, the City was entrusted to the patrimonial management of the diocese of Taranto.
The end of the Swabian Empire came about by the hand of Carlo d’Angio (1266) and the City became a Royal City.
Next came the Aragonese (1442), who defeated and expelled the Angioini from Southern Italy.
It then became Spanish property and rejected siege by French troops commanded by Duke Nemours in 1503; known by historians as the Sack of Castellaneta.
The City’s resistance merited the title of Fidelissima Civitas given to it by King Ferdinand of Aragona.
When Charles Vth, Ferdinand’s nephew, ascended to the throne in 1516, Castellaneta was given to the Flemish Guglielmo de la Crou, but the citizens, adverse to the cessation, fled, leaving the City to fall into ruin.
This saw the beginning of the domination of small feudatories which continued until 1778.
The year 1799 saw the entry of French troops, led by Napoleon, into the Italy, who diffused Republican values which led to the beginning of the Republic of Naples (1808-1815), under the guide of Gioacchino Murat. Castellaneta was not immune to this epochal change, so much so, that the subsequent restoration of the Bourbon regime was immediately opposed beginning in 1821 with the Carboneria (Association which promoted independent ideas) of Castellaneta.
In 1860, Castellaneta entered into the new Reign of Italy by means of a plebiscitary ballot.
In 1943, Castellaneta was bombed and heavily damaged during clashes between the alliance troops and the Nazis during the Second World War.
Castellaneta, with conserves an intact appearance of an 18th Century City, with a Medieval town-planning, offers interesting cultural stops to visit, beginning with: the Cathedral (1220) which was later reconstructed in ‘700, with its Baroque façade and precious paintings in its interior. Other churches to visit: S. Frances (1471), San Domenic and San Michael.
Among the feudatory buildings that governed the City, Palazzo Sarapo and Palazzo Catalono, are worth mentioning.
Visits to the Gravina Grande are also interesting. Here the inhabitants were guests during the centuries of Barbaric and Saracen invasions. One can also enjoy the numerous Rupestrian settlements here.

CASTELLANETA
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Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy

 

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