Only 4 kilometres away from
the famous Gallipoli, is were Alezio is situated.
ancient origins that are buried in the myths of their roots:
probably founded by Lizio Idomeneo, mythical King of Crete,
or perhaps by the Messapians who called it Alytia in memory
of their capital and who included it in the Dodecapoli Messapica
(a political military organisation).
This can be confirmed
by a Necropolis found on Monte d’Elia (6th Century BC).
During the Messapian Alezio period, it results as an important
centre for both commercial and cultural exchanges with other
Messapian cities in the region and with the Greek Taranto,
against which however, it was often in battle.
After King Pirro's campaigns (3rd Century BC) in Southern
Italy and his ephemeral victories over Rome, the City, along
with all southern regions, passed under the control of the
Under Republican and Imperial Roman rule, Alezio enjoyed a
new impetus, mainly thanks to the construction of Via Traiana,
an extension of the old Via Appia (Appian Way), which was
constructed between 108 and 110 AD.
The fall of the Roman Empire (5th Century AD) brought death
and destruction to the South through invasions by the Visigoths,
Heruli, Vandals (5th Century AD) and finally by the Goths
who settled in Italy until their elimination by the Byzantines
in the 5th Century during the Greek-Gothic war (535-553).
After Byzantine domination, which lasted until the end of
the 11th Century, during which time all of Southern Italy
was impoverished through Constantinople politics - as it was
considered of secondary interest to its western possessions,
the whole region passed over to the Normans (11th Century),
who arrived in Gargano in 1017 from Northern Europe
Alezio however, remained in a state of abandonment and decline
after numerous raids by the Saracens who already dominated
Sicily. It was only during the 13th and 14th Centuries that
the City enjoy a period of repopulation, during which time,
the Church of S. Maria della Alizza or Lizza, was built.
However, in 1384, Casal d’Alezio was once again abandoned
for its neighbour Gallipoli and the territory remained this
way until the 18th Century.
In 1715, thanks to the munificent work of Gabriele Carlo,
Antonio Coppola and Francesco Alemanno, nicknamed "the
picciotto," (which has no real meaning), land was granted
to some farmers to cultivate and build on. In this way, the
fortunate farmers were able to improve the territory which
was so generously given to them. The area was developed in
a century, both economically and demographically, and became
known as Villa Picciotti in honour of one of its benefactors.
It kept this name until 1873 when it returned to its original
name of Alezio.
Today, Alezio is definitely a famous centre for its production
of fine DOC white wine, which is drunk in every household
in the region, but which also offers two points of particular
cultural interest: a visit to the Santa Maria della Lizza
Church (12th Century) and that of the Addolorata (19th Century),
the City’s Mother Church.
Also not to be missed: a visit to Palazzo Tafuri, which hosts
the Civic Messapian Museum and where one can enjoy a vast
collection of artefacts which will help throw some light on
the mysterious and fascinating Messapian civilisation.