Capital of the homonymous
province, Foggia is situated in the heart of the Tavoliere
delle Puglie (Apulian Table) and its name derives from the
Latin “fovea,” meaning “pit” and referring
to the natural valley where it is positioned.
Even though the territory of Foggia was inhabited since Neolithic
times by a population dedicated to agriculture, its modern
origins are connected to the arrival of the Normans in Puglia
at the beginning of the 11th Century.
Of particular interest is that the City is situated near a
marshy area, where some shepherds found the Sacro Tavolo della
Madonna dei Sette Veli (Sacred Tablet of the Madonna of Seven
Veils containing three burning flames), which maybe was once
located in Arpi. It was immersed in the marsh, where monks
may have hidden to escape iconoclastic destruction during
the 7th Century, and was wrapped in seven veils and taken
to a nearby tavern in Gufo.
The Norman Robert Guiscard then gave instructions for the
reclamation of the marshes and Guglielmo il Buono (William
the Good) ordered that the Cathedral be built (1172-1179)
to venerate the sacred image.
The event of the Swabians marked an important step for Foggia,
in that Federick II had the magnificent Ducal Palace built
in 1223 (of which hardly anything remains) and the defensive
City walls; walls which were destroyed by him a few years
later on his return from the sixth crusade because the City
was hostile against him.
The Angioini succeeded the Swabians in the 13th Century.
Foggia, for its geographic position, had its destiny and fortune
linked to the transhumance of sheep. In fact, during Aragonese
domination (15th Century), Palazzo Dogana, a customs building
for sheep, was installed which levied a tax for all shepherds
in arrival from Tavoliere delle Puglie (Apulian Table).
During the war, which saw the Spanish against the French,
at the beginning of the 16th Century, the City lined up against
the first mentioned and was besieged and plundered by the
same French troops (1528).
Over the centuries, the City also suffered destruction due
to seismic events (1456, 1534, 1627, 1731).
With the arrival of the Bourbons (1734), Foggia enjoyed a
period of economic development, thanks to agriculture and
beginning from the 19th Century, land which was once dedicated
to sheep farming, also became available.
The echo of French Republican ideals, brought to Italy by
Bonaparte in 1799, gave “life” to Italian unification,
which the City joined in with its participation in revolutionary
clashes in 1820 and 1848.
In 1861, the City passed into the territory of the Kingdom
During the Second World War, the City was bombarded by alliance
forces and heavily damaged from an city-plan point of view.
There are many places of interest to visit in the City beginning
with the Cathedral (12th Century, later restored in the 18th
Century), the Chiesa delle Croci (Church of Crosses), the
Three Arches of Porta Arpana, the Arch of Federick II and
the Archaeological Park of Passo di Corvo.
The buildings worth mentioning are: Palazzo Dogana and Palazzo
delle Poste. A visit to the splendid Villa Comunale, one of
the largest gardens in Italy, is also recommended.