RUVO DI PUGLIA
Situated in the province of
Bari, in the Alta Murgia plateau, characterised by typical
Karst formation territory dotted with natural grottos, is
where one can find Ruvo di Puglia; once an ancient Peucetian
Its name derives from the Latin Rupes meaning rock and reflecting
the nature of its territory.
Its territory was inhabited since Middle Palaeolithic times
(60 thousands years ago), whilst in the district of Cortogiglio,
the remains of agricultural villages have been found.
The Musoni lived there during the Bronze Age (II Millennium
BC), followed by the Japigi (who originated from Greece XII
Century BC). Rhyps enjoyed its maximum splendour between the
V and III Centuries, when it had already entered into the
economic orbit of the Greek cities of Puglia and had strong
commercial exchange with Athens. There have been many finds
from this period, including some precious vases produced locally
and coins which testify the importance of the ancient centre.
It was annexed to the Republic of Rome after the wars with
Pirro (272 BC) and was named Rubi, later becoming a Roman
Town Hall and important stop off point along Via Traiana.
This fact allowed it to develop economically for the duration
of the Imperial era.
Barbaric invasions in Ruvo di Puglia did not help the City,
which was thought to have been destroyed by the Goths in 463.
It passed under Ostrogoth domination until 535 and became
Byzantine in 553, attracting Basilian Monks in escape from
iconoclastic persecution by Eastern emperors beginning during
the VII Century.
Ruvo was the centre of a clash between the Longobards and
Byzantines during the VII, IX and X Centuries, and was subjected
to repeated Saracen attacks (857); who since the IX Century
had landed on the shores of Puglia from neighbouring Sicily
During the year 1000 it became an Episcopal Seat.
The City was annexed by the Normans to the Reign of Sicily
of King Ruggero (1040) and subsequently became part of the
County of Conversano under King Tancredi (1129). Ruvo became
a fief and was fortified under the Swabians of Federick II
(XIII Century), who ordered construction of the Cathedral.
The Templar Knights possessed an important seat in Ruvo during
the XII and XIII Centuries, from where they departed for the
After 1269, the suburb, like all of Southern Italy, passed
under Angioini domination. They modified the Norman Castle
and entrusted the fief to the De Colant Family, who are remembered
for their bad governing. In 1291, Ruvo passed over to Roberto
de Juriaco and during the XIV Century, it was the centre for
clashes between Queen Giovanna I and Luigi of Hungary.
The feudatory of Ruvo, Gazzone de Denysiaco, was accused of
the death of Giovanna’s I husband, King Luigi of Hungary’s
brother, and had come to Italy to vindicate the death and
appropriate the throne of Naples. In 1348 the situation was
reversed and Giovanna returned to Naples and reclaimed her
lands in Puglia. It was besieged by Roberto Sanseverino, who
was loyal to the Queen. Ruvo therefore had to surrender and
become part of the Queen’s property, which later led
to it becoming a fief of the Vrunforts, the Orisini del Balzo
and the Spanish of Requenses (1499). In the field of clashes
between the French and Spanish, Ruvo was conquered by the
first mentioned and besieged by the latter, who reconquered
it together with Consalvo di Cordova, who later re-consigned
the City to the Requenses.
In 1509, the Requenses sold the fief to Cardinal Oliviero
Carafa, whose family kept it until the abolition of feudal
rights in 1806. During this long period, new religious orders
settled in the City and built new cult seats: the Convents
of San Domenico (1560) and Cappuccini (1607).
The population was wiped out by the Plague (1656).
After the brief French Republic of Naples period (1806-1815),
Ruvo and the whole of Puglia, merged with the Reign of the
Two Sicilies under the Bourbons. The citizens of Ruvo di Puglia
actively participated in the revolutionary experience of 1799
and 1821, and were open once again to a Carbonara vendita
(Smaller city associations linked to the Carbonari movement
which promoted independent ideas) (Complete fidelity, 1816)
in 1848 and 1860 which led them to the unification of the
Reign of Italy, proclaimed on 17th March 1861.
The major monuments in the City are: the Romanesque Cathedral
with its beautiful portal, magnificent rose window and hypogean
with internal mosaic flooring from the Roman era. The Annunziata
Church (1377), the Castle and Fondo Marasco complete the visit
to Medieval Ruvo.
From the Roman City one can admire: the Cisterna (San Cleto
Grotto), a Headstone dedicated to Emperor Marco Antonio Gordiano
Pio (225-244), which is set in the Torre dell’Orologio
(Clock Tower – 1604) and the Jatta Museum, which conserves
important vases and other products from the Hellenistic era.
It is impossible to list all the civil and religious Renaissance
and Baroque monuments, but we would like to point out Palazzo
Spada (XVI Century) and the S. Domenico Church (1560).