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Altamura, Province of Bari, Puglia

altamura coatofarms Situated along the Bari-Matera highway, it was the Capital of the ancient Peucetii, then it was destroyed by the Saracens in the 10th century, and was later refounded by Frederick II in mid-13th century also with populations of Greek an Jewish stock from nearby villages.

Info

  • Altitude: 467 a.s.l
  • Population: about 68,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 70022
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 080
  • Patron Saint: St. Irene, celebrated on May 5th
  • Frazioni & Localities: Fornello, Masseria Franchini, Stazione Casal Sabini

History

The area of Altamura was already populated in the Bronze Age as shown by archeological findings in La Croce settlement. The old name was Altilia, from Alter Ilium, meaning "other Troy", since according to the legend it was founded by a friend of Aeneas, Antellus. The city grew in importance under Emperor Frederick II. Altamura was ruled by a number of feudal families, such as the Orsini del Balzo and the Farnese. In 1748 Charles VII established a University. The emblem of Altamura is in the form of a horseshoe, with four quarters in red and white, with the motto "Federicus me reparavit" (=Frederick refounded me).

What to see

  • The Cathedral whose construction was started by order of Frederick II in 1232, with the portal sided by two lions, representing the spiritual and the temporal powers, and with a rich rosewindows divided into 15 sections;
  • The church of San Nicolo' dei Greci, the parish of a previous Byzantine community;
  • The almost 200 "claustri", kind of alleys ending into courtyards, among then the "claustro Tricarico" of the 15th century, the "claustro Giudecca " of the 14th century;
  • The Megalithic Walls of the ancient Italic settlement of the 5th century BC.
  • The "pulo di Altamura" 4 miles from the town, the largest Karst abyss in Apulia, over 90 mt deep, where traces of Neolithic settlements were found.

Where to stay