History of the Town (english version)

The town is located on the plateau which separates the Murge of Northwest from those of Southeast, at 360 metres above sea level. It rises up halfway between the Ionian and Adriatic seas, at almost identical distances from the Lucanian centre of Matera and the Apulian cities of Bari and Taranto.

Its location, particularly prestigious for the communication routes, has given the city, since prehistoric times, a central role as a point of confluences and economic, commercial, and cultural exchanges.

Since the Neolithic Age, the territory has been inhabited by different people, leaving significant traces of their presence, that are evident today in the dolmen necropolis of Masseria del Porto and in the archaeological excavations made around the areas of Castelluccia and Santo Mola.

During the Byzantine Empire emerged the first urban settlement in the current site of the town (Borgo S. Nicola), where it is possible to admire some of the most evocative architectural structures of the time: the Arches of Constantinopoli, Nardulli, Mastrocinto, S. Nicola, Cimone ; the Tower House; the Church of S. Andrea; the Mother Church… and also minor architectural and sculptural forms like the keystones, the ornate oculus and decorative door knockers.

The archaeological area of Monte Sannace, one of the most important centres of Peucetia, and the Norman-Swabian Castle, linked to the figures of Frederick II of Swabia and Bianca Lancia who gave birth to Manfred of Sicily, give testimony to the archaeological and historical-architectural significance of the town.

The rural landscape is also to be considered one of the attractive elements of this patch of Apulia, with its 16th and 17th century farms, scattered in a wonderful naturalistic space marked by ravines, caves/cave residences and woods.

From an economic and productive point of view, Gioia del Colle is one of the most flourishing rural areas of the province and boasts a particularly significant production in the zootecnical and wine-making sectors with the Primitivo wine at the forefront.
 
Dairy production is particularly developed: Gioia del Colle’s mozzarellas and dairy products have established themselves on markets all around Italy and beyond, for their incomparable quality.
 
No less important is the production of extra-virgin olive oil. Further contributing to the territory’s character are the tasty dishes of fave and cicorie, lampascioni, cicerchie, etc… all delicacies that can be tasted in this spectacular corner of Southern Italy.
 
Testo a cura di Simona Caricato (Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere c/o Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” – stagista presso il Comune di Gioia del Colle).
 

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