Vieste

VIESTE

Vieste is an ancient Daunii centre situated on the Eastern promontory of Gargano. It is an important stop to learn about Romanesque times in Puglia, which here reaches maximum expression in the Cathedral dating back to the XI Century.
Its territory, due to favourable climatic conditions and close proximity to the sea, was inhabited since the Neolithic era, with populations dedicated to agriculture, sheep farming, fish and subsequently sea commerce with other populations in the Mediterranean basin.
Finds of Necropolises, utensils and remains of human settlements have been discovered from this historical period.
Legend, instead, names Noah, who arrived in Gargano after the Great Flood and who decided to settle here until the death of his wife Vesta, as the one who named the City after her.
The City was of course, founded by the Daunii, probably at the end of the Bronze Age, and enjoyed its maximum splendour between the X and VI Centuries BC.
From the V Century, it suffered the process of Hellenisation of its customs and was included in the Republic of Rome after the wars with Pirro (270 BC).
Tolomeo cites the location of Apheneste during the II Century BC, but in 1987, finds of a temple in a grotto on the small island of Santa Eufemia, dedicated to the Goddess Venere Sosandra, of which Catullo mentions in poem 36, locating it in the City of Uria, makes one inclined to identify Vieste with ancient Uria.
Once again the name Vieste can be linked with the cult of the Goddess Vesta (virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family) probably in relation to nostalgia felt for the homeland by the first Greek inhabitants.
After the fall of Rome and barbaric invasions by the Goths and Vandals (V Century AD), Vieste was merged for a short while to the Ostrogoth Reign (496-535), which was extinguished by the Byzantine General Belisario during the Greek-Gothic War (535-553).
Vieste then passed under domination by the Eastern Empire and soon became a target for the Longobards, who conquered Gargano during the VII Century.
Vieste’s strategic position in the Adriatic then put it at the centre of Saracen desires, who attacked the City numerous times during the IX and X Centuries.
After returning to Byzantine hands during the X Century, and becoming an Episcopal Seat in 993, Vieste passed to the Normans half way through the XI Century, and enjoyed a period of strong economic development. The new nobles had the Castle and Cathedral built (XI Century), which were subsequently damaged by the Venetians (1239), who were forever in search of new ports for maritime traffic with the East.
Federick II of Swabia had the suburb and castle rebuilt during 1240.
It then passed over to the Angioini (1266) and enjoyed a period of peace then development, abruptly interrupted by unexpected Turkish raids, which beginning in the XV Century, raged along the coast of Puglia. The worst was by the pirate Dragut Rais (18-21 July 1554), who had more than 5.000 inhabitants decapitated on a stone, which today is known as Chianca Amara.
After the French-Spanish War (initiated during the XVI Century), the Spanish decided to construct numerous lookout and defence towers, to avoid new sea attacks on the population.
In 1646, Vieste was gravely damaged by an earthquake.
A visit to Vieste is always accompanied by emotions created by the sea view and splendid beaches which frame the Medieval suburb situated on a precipitous spur looking out to sea.
In this part of the City, one can admire the Federick II’s Castle, which unfortunately though, cannot be visited due to the fact that it is a military seat, where Pope Celestine V was also imprisoned; the Pope of great refusal mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Nearby, steps lead one to the beautiful Cattedrale dell’Assunta (Assumption Cathedral) (XI Century), built on a previous church which was once constructed on the site of a Pagan temple.
There are numerous visits possible by boat to the coastal grottos, among which we would like to mention the San Nicola, Campana and Lina grottos.

VIESTE
Art City

Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy
Vieste
CATHEDRAL

Vieste
PANORAMIC VIEW

 

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