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Accadia, Province of Foggia, Puglia

Accadia coatofarms Accadia is 52 km from Foggia, the province capital and about 151 km from Bari, the region capital, in the Subappennino Dauno, at an altitude of 650 mt that is among the highest in Apulia. The name of the place probably derives from the goddess Eca, who would later become Acca Dia, or from the Latin "Aquediae" or "Aqua cadiva", (=water falling), given the abundance of springs in the area.

Info

  • Altitude: mt 650 a.s.l
  • Surface area: 30.48 km2
  • Population: ca. 2700 inhabitants (2001 census)
  • Zip/postal code: 71021
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0881
  • Patron Saint: St Sebastian, celebrated on 20 January and 21 August.
  • Frazioni & Localities: Agata delle Noci
  • See Accadia on Google Maps - clicking on Satellite View and zooming in, find Via Fossa di Greci (to the east) to see the ancient, now abandoned district.

History

The history of Accadia begins during the second millennium BC with the settling of the Dardani. The town was conquered in 214 BC by consul Marcellus and destroyed by Sulla in 88 BC. During the Roman Empire there was a flourishing trade activity, as shown also by the remains of a Roman taberna (=pub). The area, during this period, was also subject to intensive agricultural use.

During the Norman occupation, Accadia was a very small town. It was damaged by the earthquake of 1456; on 21 July 1462, during the war between the Angevins and Aragonese for the kingdom of Naples, king Ferrante I of Aragon besieged and set fire to the town. Later on, Accadia was a fief of the Caracciolo-Del Balzo and finally of the Recco and Dentice families.

In 1811 after an administrative reform Accadia passed from the province of Capitanata to Irpinia. From 1861 until 1927 it was included in the province of Avellino, then returned to the province of Foggia in Puglia. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were characterized by an economic stability based on agriculture, but the cholera epidemic of 1910 and the subsequent emigration overseas led to a decadence of the economy. The town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1930 and more recently also damaged by the 1980 Irpinia earthquake.

What to see

    Because of the many earthquakes, most monuments suffered greatly and very few are as they were originally.
  • A Roman Tavern, in the Rotato district 2 km from Accadia on the road to Foggia; in Roman times at this "taberna" travelers would stop for foraging animals. It was built under Emperor Maximianus and rebuilt under Maxentius. Nearby was the Via Herculeia, which linked the Via Appia and Trajana and crossed the territory of Accadia continuing as far as the present city of Potenza.
  • The two natural sites of Bosco Paduli and Pietra di Punta; the former is about 5 km from Accadia in the direction of Deliceto, has a dense vegetation of huge oak trees and many water springs; the latter is a rural site located near the chapel of St. Mary of the Teutons, on the road Accadia-Monteleone di Puglia, and contains remarkable towering cliffs rising from the Frugno river.
  • The Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo, the original parish church of 1098, in the center of the town, had seven round arches with large rectangular windows, a graceful dome and a wonderful apse. On the left side there was a three-story tower with a square and with a conical spire. It was damaged by the earthquake of 1456 and in 1462 by the artillery of the Aragonese army. There followed various renovations, until the 1930 earthquake made the church unusable. In 1949 works for a new church began in another part of the square, and it was inaugurated in 1964.
  • The Chiesa di San Vito, dedicated also to St Antony, dates back to 1730 and was renovated in 1973.
  • The Santuario di Monte Crispignano; the Mount, at 1105 m above sea level, is where Our Lady of Mount Carmel, according to tradition, appeared to a young shepherd in the cleft of a rock. Here a sanctuary was erected and inaugurated on August 21 with a great horse ride and festivities. Since then, every five years, the statue of Our Lady is carried from Mount Crispignano down to the village.
  • The church of Santa Maria dei Teutoni , 4 km from the town along the road to Monteleone di Puglia. Founded as a pagan temple under the name "Ad Matrem Magna along via Herculeia", then took the name of Santa Maria Matri Magna. In 1191 it came under the control of the Teutonic Order who gave it the current name of Santa Maria Maggiore or of the Teutons. The church is especially important for the inscriptions hidden in the facade and for its crypt, where a stone is engraved with three busts: Alexander Severus, his mother Julia Mamea and his wife Sallustia, who according to a legend would be buried here. According to tradition, in this place is buried also Pope Callistus II, who died on December 12, 1124 along the Appian Way, as he returned from a Concil in nearby Troia.
  • The archeological site of Rione Fossi, the oldest urban settlement of the town, abandoned after the 1930 earthquake of now completely deserted. In classical antiquity it was a place of worship, a sacred area with temples, monasteries and mansions of pagan priests. The traditional name Fossa dei Greci (=Pit of the Greeks) was actually a corruption of the greek-latin name "Fossa Agroecorum" which actually translates as "Pit of the Orphics", since hermits belonging to this monk order lived in those caves and, when still alive, prepared their own simple burial pit. In the Middle Ages the place was a fortress, which took advantage of the fortifications built up to protect the classical temples with their vast treasures. All around the fortress the villagers lived in houses separated by narrow cobbled streets and winding alleys, gathered around the monumental church of Saints Peter and Paul, currently in need of restoration.

    Bibliography: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accadia