Not too far from Bari, in
the hinterland from the Adriatic coast, is where one can visit
Modugno, which takes its name from the Latin Medunium, that
is, a half way road between Bari and Bitonto, along Via Traiana.
It was founded during the High Medieval period, more precisely
during Byzantine domination, when it was a simple peasant
village along Via Traiana. It was known by the name of Pagus
Medùgenus and was concentrated around the small S.
Maria di Modugno or of the Assumption Church (8th-9th Centuries).
During the 10th Century, it experienced Saracen raids, who
were now owners of Bari, and who made the inhabitants seek
refuge in the Longobard towers situated in the Motta locality.
During the 11th Century, the Norman arrival changed the ownership
of property belonging to the diocese. From Byzantine it passed
under administration by the Roman Popes. In this context,
Modugno appeared in some papal documents (1062-1089) as belonging
to the diocese of Bari.
Under the Swabians (13th Century) the feudatory of Modugno
passed first to the Costa Family (1212) and then the Chyurlia
The arrival of the Angioini saw Modugno return to the diocese
of Bari (1269) and subsequent fortification of the Ecolo district
(1349) by the orders of Archbishop Bartolomeo Carafa.
In 1440, Modugno became a feudatory of the Orsini del Balzo
Family, already Princes of Taranto.
Modugno then became a Sforza of Milan possession, and enjoyed
a period of development and intellectual fervour.
After the Franco-Spanish war for domination of the Reign of
Naples, concluding with the Battle of Cerignola (1504), the
victorious Spanish gave the feudatory to Isabella of Aragona,
already Princess of Bari. Her daughter Bona Sforza succeeded
her (1521), who governed the feudatory from Poland, where
she had married King Sigismondo. During this time, Modugno
saw its maximum splendour.
On her death (1557), the feudatory passed to the Spanish Crown
and Filippo II, who sold it to Ansaldo Grimaldi in 1581. But
the City proudly extinguished the feudal yoke through a payment
of 40.000 ducats (1582).
Spanish domination (16th Century), coincided for all of Southern
Italy with the beginning of economic decline due to pestilence
and deep fiscal depression, which led to the revolts by the
population everywhere during the 17th Century
The Bourbon government (1734-1860, excluding the Napoleonic
period 1799-1815), saw Modugno become a state monopoly enjoying
fiscal privileges. Most of the monuments present in the City
today, come from this period.
The events leading to the Republic of Naples (1806-1815) experience,
largely shared by the inhabitants of Modugno, saw the City
live a period of siege by Sanfediste troops who were loyal
to the Monarchy (10th March 1799).
Bourbon rule returned (1816), whilst in Modugno a decision
was made to demolish the City walls (3rd December 1820). This
was during the Carbonari (An association which promoted independent
ideas) motions, to which the City adhered.
Despite the ferocious repression of the government, the historical
course had now initiated and culminated in annexation of the
Reign of the Two Sicilies to the Reign of Italy in 1861.
The subsequent phase was characterised by the Brigandage phenomenon,
which was fiercely repressed by the monarchy.
The First World War was lived by Modugno with a tribute to
more than 100 inhabitants killed, whilst only a few less were
victims during the Second World War (1940-43).
In 1946, after the Institutional Referendum, the Reign of
Italy adopted the Republican system.
Things to see in the City: the Annunziata Matrix Church, the
Purgatorio Church (700), the Immaculate Church (1585) and
just outside the habitation S. Agostino (1608) and the S.
Maria delle Grotte Church containing frescoes, where tradition
states that the Patron of Molfetta, San Corrado of Baviera,
Close to Modugno (3km), one can also visit Balsignano, a small
Medieval suburb with City walls, a Castle and precious churches
in its interior.