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Conversano

History

Of very ancient origins, testified by the remains of the megalithic walls, Conversano is quoted in documents belonging to the 4th- 3 th century B.C. with the name of Norba. Rich in archaeological finds, also thanks to its propitious geographical position, Norba was part of the Roman Empire and underwent its influence until its consequent decline because of Barbarian invasions. 

In the Middle Ages it was refounded under the name of Cupersanum passing from the Byzantine Empire to the Lombards of Benevento ( 7th century). Thanks to the Norman invasion, around the11th century, and to Count Goffredo d’Altavilla, Conversano became the centre of the county which stretches from Castella to Polignano a Mare, Brindisi and Lecce.
 

Later the county was under the Brienne, the Enghiens, the Luxembourg, the Orsini and finally the Acquaviva Aragons who ruled until the end of the 19th century. When it gained the status of a free town, Conversano actively took part in the upheavals leading to the Italian Unification (Risorgimento). In the aftermath of the Unification, agriculture and crafts flourished along with a vibrant cultural life. 
Immagine antica di Conversano


The town

Conversano, with its archaeological heritage, is one of the greatest and oldest centres created by the Peuceti. The old megalithic walls, still visible in some tracts, symbolize the origins and historical importance of a vital and dynamic town, enriched in time with artistic and monumental beauties. The town is full of churches, noble houses and monuments of high artistic value. 

The social life in Conversano develops around the Castle of the Counts Acquaviva of Aragon, symbol of the feudal power of the Counts. Nearby  is the Romanesque Basilica Cathedral which symbolizes not only the spiritual power of the Church but the bishop’s residence as well.

 
Chiesa di San Benedetto
Further on there is the Monastery of San Benedetto which now houses the civic museum. Other monuments that contribute to the beauty of the historic centre are: the church of SS Cosma and Damiano, the church of the Madonna del Carmine, Marchione Castle (hunting lodge of the Acquaviva Aragons). 

You can find art everywhere in Conversano: in nature, in “ponds” (small lakes) where man has built limestone tanks for storing water so precious for the countryside. Among the olive groves and the cherry trees you find old places of noble and rural /peasant tradition and the remains of a past not yet swept away.

Events


The patronal feast of the Madonna della Fonte is celebrated on the third Sunday in May and is one of the most popular religious rites that take place during the Holy Week during which the local population takes part in the “Sepolcri” on Holy Thursday (the devotion to several of the churches) and in the procession of Mysteries on Holy Friday. 

On 16th August San Rocco is celebrated in the little Medieval church dedicated to the Saint; during this celebration a traditional “Cavalcata” (Ride) takes place and horses, ridden by children and young people, are dressed up for the occasion.
 
 

The first Sunday in October is dedicated to SS. Medici (old patrons of the town) and Santa Rita, which is the second most popular feast after the one of the Madonna della Fonte. On 24th November San Flaviano, the patron of the town, is celebrated.

Conversano is also the centre of the Mediterranean Festival where artists, poets and actors coming from all over the Mediterranean countries perform.

In the historic centre, from June to September, various artistic performances take place: concerts of  jazz and classical music, plays, cinema, extemporary paintings, cabarets.

conversano particolare

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