Roman Bridge  - Canosa
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CANOSA

Canosa is situated in a hilly area above the Murge plateau. It is a city with ancient origins; its foundation is linked to the mythical Homeric Greek hero, Diomedes.

Archaeological searches, instead, have found that the territory of Canosa was inhabited since Neolithic times (6.000-3.500 BC) and the Bronze Age (3.500-1.200 BC) as testified by the Necropolis of Pozzillo.
Towards the 12th Century BC, a population of Lapigi arrived from Illyria, now known as Albania, which saw the beginning of three different cultures in Puglia: the Daunian, the Peucetians and the Messapians.
It was the Daunii who founded the first settlement known as Toppicelli, which is well documented by tombs rich with funerary objects belonging to the supposed Princes.
Canosa became even more important and began to make commercial deals with neighbouring Magno—Greek cities, which mediation by Taranto and after the 4th Century BC, directly with the interested cities.
Canosa entered into the political sphere of Rome in 318 BC, but its rich inhabitants knew how to safeguard a favourable agreement, which saved the City’s independence. In fact, it continued to mint its own currency.
In 216 BC, Canosa welcomed the Romans who were defeated by Hannibal in the Battle of Canne (Cannae), guaranteeing a healthy future in war terms.
In ’86 BC, after the end of the Civil war, in which Canosa lined up against Rome, the City became a municipium and during the Imperial era, was added along the route of Via Traiana (108 AD); a secondary arterial of Via Appia (Appian Way), which connected Benevento and Brindisi.
During the second half of the II century AD, the City became a colony by the name of Colonia Aurelia Augusta Pia Canusium. It was in this period that the forum, amphitheatre, thermal baths and a temple dedicated to Giove (Zeus) were built.
During the II century, it became an Episcopal seat, and after a period of Barbaric invasions (4th Century AD) it experienced a clash between the Ostrogoths and Byzantines during the Greek-Gothic war (535-553 AD), when Canosa was made a stronghold.
During the 7th Century, Canosa entered as part of the Longobard dominium, becoming a seat of Gastaldo, an administrative civil employee of the Longobard Prince over his territory.
In the subsequent Century, it was Prince Arechi II /758-787) who ordered construction of the Canosa Cathedral.
The decline of the Francos in Italy (774) and the arrival of the Saracens (847-871), who had created an emirate in Bari and had conquered Sicily, gave a blow to the economy of Canosa and began its decay.
In ‘876, Puglia was reconquered by the Byzantines, but their economic management soon provoked their discharge from many cities in Puglia, which fused instead with the League of Communes in Puglia, and thanks to the aid of Norman mercenaries, obtained independence.
With the arrival of the Norman, Roberto Guiscard, who married the Longobard “warrior princess”, Sichelgaita, Puglia was freed entirely from Byzantine domination. Canosa, however, although having entered into one the preferred metas of Prince Boemondo of Altavilla, lost its importance in favour of Bari, leading to its slow political and economic decline. This continued under the Swabian lineage (13th Century).
The situation worsened over the centuries due to repeated earthquakes (1361, 1456, 1627, 1659, 1851, 1930) which heavily undermined the City’s economy.
It subsequently, as with many other cities in Southern Italy, passed hands to the Angioini and then to the Aragonese, experiencing the lordship of some of the most powerful noble families of the time.
On 6th November 1943, Canosa was bombarded by the alliance forces during fighting in the Second World War.

CANOSA
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