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Cisternino

 

History

Cisternino, an important centre of Messapian origins, is south west oriented above the Itria Valley and, on the other side, above the coast. The old Messapian civilization settled in the Salento even before the Greek and Roman civilizations. During the Middle Ages Cisternino was inhabited by Basilian monks who were refugees from the East because of persecutions. The town still holds the “specchie” (funeral monuments) and the “dolmens” ( tombs and altars) of the pre-Roman village. Later it was feud of Monopoli.
 
Cisternino lies in the centre of the Itria Valley which spreads out along Bari, Brindisi and Taranto; its typical landscape is characterized by small farms bounded by dry-stone walls cultivated with vineyards and orchards and surrounded by “trulli” (dry-stone houses with conical roofs).
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The town

 
The historic centre is full of peaceful and picturesque lanes among white houses and balconies adorned with flowers; there are elegant houses with attractive portals, arches, balconies, and sculpted masks.
 
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Not to be missed is the beautiful panorama admirable from the “villa comunale” and the near cylindrical Aragonese tower enclosed in a house with three arches. The other important tower, called “civica”, is square and has Norman-Swabian origins.
 
The Main Church dedicated to San Nicola from Patara is of Norman origins and in Apulian- Romanesque style (13th century). It holds the lytic group of the Madonna col Bambino by the the 15th century Apulian artist Stefano da Putignano and columns with Roman capitals and other remains.
 
Worthy of note is the Baroque tufa façade of the church of S. Cataldo, as well as, in the neighbourhood of the town, the sanctuary of the Madonna d’Ibernia of the 12th century, composed of two distinct nuclei.
 Extremely charming is the historic centre with its typical white houses; in the centre there is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II with Torre dell’orologio, (“The clock Tower”) the main political, musical and folklore meeting point of the town.borgo antico min.
 
 
 

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