CERIGNOLA

In ancient times, in the place were Cerignola is situated, lies a village probably inhabited by the Daunii, a population with Lapigian origins and therefore, Illyrian, which was known by the name of Keraunaia.

The old habitation was destroyed by Alessandro I of Epiro, known as Molosso, during clashes between the Messapian cites and the Greek-Spartan Taranto, in 324 BC.
Its inhabitants initially escaped, founding new centres in the surrounding territory, but who subsequently, during Roman times, reunited around the Castle of Roman administration, an administration of immense garrisoned granaries which were guarded by Roman soldiers and therefore considered safe places. This is how Cerignola was founded.
After construction of Via Traiana (108 BC), an alternative route to Via Appia (Appian Way) which arrived in Brindisi, Cerignola became famous as a rest stop and for a change of horses, known as today’s San Domenico Church.
The end of the Roman Empire saw the beginning of a dark period of barbaric invasions by the Goths of Alarico (411 AD) and the Vandals of Genserico (middle of the 5th Century AD). After the Ostrogoth Reign (476-535) in Italy and the Greek-Gothic War (535-553), which sanctioned the conquest of Puglia by the Byzantines, Cerignola was centre of battles between the Longobards and Byzantines. The Saracens, who were present in Sicily since the 9th Century, then entered and carried out their own raids along the coast of Puglia.
The Normans arrived in Cerignola in 1040 and gave development and prosperity to all the centres in Puglia, which continued later under Swabian domination (1194-1268). This period saw the formation of a village centre, with protective walls and defence towers.
The advent of the Angioini coincided with a period of decline for Cerignola, during which the City was subjected to various feudatories. The Angiò handed the City over to the Parisiis in 1271, then followed the Artus, the Vicini and Pipino Famlies.
In 1418, Giovanna II of Angiò, Queen of Naples, sold Cerignola to Ser Gianni Caracciolo, who then became sole landowner of 12,000 dukedoms.
The Battle of Cerignola was fought on 28th April 1503, which saw a line up against the Spanish and French armies and which was resolved in defeat of the latter.
In fief, it passed via marriage in 1611 to the Pignatelli family, where it remained until abolition of the feudal system on 2nd August 1806.
During the 18th Century, Cerignola was stage for various natural disasters. The earthquake of 1731 is memorable, which destroyed part of the Castle.
As a result of integral reclamation of the surrounding inhabited territory, Cerignola became one of the main centres of agricultural development in Southern Italy.
Cerignola is worth a visit as its Medieval habitation in the village known as Terra Vecchia (Old Land), has remained intact. Here one can walk through characteristic cobbled alleyways and visit the Madre Church (11th-13th Century) and those of Saint Augustine and San Leonardo (15th Century).
Outside the City, a visit to the Chiesetta of Ripa Alta is recommended, which preserves the famous Byzantine Icon of the Madonna of Ripalta; a painting dating back to 500 AD, figuring the Madonna, patron of Cerignola. Her patron feast day is celebrated yearly on 8th September.

CERIGNOLA
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Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy

 

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