Bitonto
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BITONTO

This City of olives, situated in Bari, along the Adriatic coast, has witnessed embarkation of indo-European populations coming from the East. One of these populations, after its arrival on the Adriatic coast of Illyria, gave the origins to the Peucetian population, who founded Butuntum. Tradition assigns the City’s foundation to King Illirico Botone.

The City subsequently became Greek under the influence of Taranto, but retained its autonomy and minted its own currency.
The City was taken from the Romans after clashes with King Pirro of Epiro (3rd Century BC) and was a municipium during the Republic and Imperial area, then became an important thoroughfare of Via Traiana.
After the fall of Rome and the subsequent Barbaric invasions, it became part of the Ostrogoth Reign (476-535) before it was cancelled from the Roman Western Empire, due to the Greek-Gothic war (535-553) and to which a large part of Southern Italy was annexed.
It remained Byzantine even after the fall of the Longobards of Alboino in Italy during 569, but it was conquered by them, together with a large part of Puglia (616), shortly afterwards. It remained like this until the fall of the Francos (774), who possessed it until Longobard domination which gave new wind to the Byzantine conquests around the year 1000, and who dominated the entire region. In 975, the Saracens were defeated by the Byzantines commanded by Zaccaria.
Byzantine governing created dissatisfaction in the population, who united with the League of Communes in Puglia. Thanks to Norman support commanded by Roberto the Guiscard, it was liberated from the Byzantine yoke.
During this period, the Cathedral was built and Bitonto obtained privileges which it kept during successive domination by the Swabians (1194-1266).
With the advent of the Angioini accession to the throne of Naples (1266), it became a Marquisate and knew the lordship of numerous families, among which the Caldora (1412), Ventimiglia, Orsini, Acquavia, Cordova (1503), until it became a free city in 1552 after a payment of 66,000 ducats. From this moment on, the City enjoyed a rosy period, both economically and artistically, so much so, that in 1669 it became the second most important city in Puglia.
On 25th May 1734, the battle between the Austrians (in Puglia from 1707) and Spanish, saw an Austrian defeat, thus securing possession of the Kingdom of Naples for the Bourbons.
In 1860, Bitonto was annexed to the Reign of Italy.
A visit to the City should begin with its Cathedral of S. Valentino (12th and 13th Century) in Romanesque style, containing a crypt dating back to the previous era (5th-6th Century).
The historical centre is enriched by Renaissance buildings, including Palazzo Sylox-Calò (1529-83), Palazzo Sylos-Vulpano (1445), Palazzo De Lerma (16th Century) and the contemporary Palazzo De Ferraris-Regna.
It is impossible to name every church but we can highlight: the Chiesa del Crocifisso (Church of the Crucifix) which is just outside the City and the Chiesetta dell’Annunziata (Annunciation).
The City is still surrounded by its ancient Medieval walls, which contain the Maja and Baresana Portals. The Torrione Angioino (13th Century) is also worth mentioning.

BITONTO
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Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy

 

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