Parabita is situated in the
province of Lecce on a territory of natural Karst formation,
dotted with caves and not too distant from the Ionic Coast.
Its territory was inhabited since Palaeolithic times and the
subsequent Bronze Age, as demonstrated by finds carried out
in the Mazzuchi Grotto. But the most ancient treasures found
in Parabita are the so called Veneri of Parabita, small female
statues sculptured out of oxen or horse bones, dating back
12.000 years ago.
The Messapian Bovota was the ancient town nucleus, which then
became Roman (3rd Century BC, and was destroyed by the Saracens
in 927 AD). The superstitious inhabitants therefore founded
Parabita a few kilometres further South.
Coins have been found on the territory which testify to the
wealth of Bavota during the Republic of Rome period (88 BC),
which permitted the minting of coinage.
It passed under Norman rule (11th Century), then Swabian (13th
Century) and Angioini (13th-14th Centuries), who had the Castle
built. Parabita was administered by various feudatories, among
which the Sanseverino Family (14th Century), the Caris Family
(15th Century) and the Orsini Del Balzo Family, who managed
it until 1528 when, after the battle between the French (supported
by the Orsini’s) and the Spanish, it became a Regio
Demanio (Royal Property).
It was acquired in 1536 by Pirro Castriota and subsequently
passed to the Ferrari Family at the beginning of the 18th
Century, then finally merged into the Reign of Italy in 1861.
One can visit the beautiful Aragonese Castle in Parabita,
which was modified, and then in subsequent centuries mainly
by the feudatory Castriota Family beginning in 1536.
Among the civil buildings we would like to mention: Palazzo
Veneziani, in memory of a brief domination by Venice (end
of ‘500s), Palazzo Ferrari, Palazzo Vinci and Palazzo
The Cathedral is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and was
built on the site of a more ancient building.