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Home - Bio Itinerario "La Via Traiana"
Cultural highlights - along the Trajan Way

Its geographical position and the favourable climatic conditions have made the plain of age-old olive trees, along the Trajan Way, an ideal place for human settlement even from the most distant times. In the Park and the archaeological museum of Egnazia, the walls, the forum, the amphitheatre, the rooms, the remains of the Trajan Way, tell the story of the ancient city of the messapian and the roman ages. Santa Maria d’Agnano in Ostuni is a settlement dating back to the IV millenium B.C. to which the burial of the oldest mother in the world belongs. In San Vito dei Normanni the Castle of Alcestes is the most ancient messapian settlement in the whole area.

The story of Brundisium (Brindisi) in the roman age is, however, directly legible by walking the streets of the city. In the port, the roman column of white marble rises up against the sky, the original capital is on display in the ‘Column Hall’ in via Duomo; mosaic paving stones can be seen in Via Casimiro and in the archaeological area of San Pietro degli Schiavoni (preserved below the New Verdi Theatre).There you can visit a roman insula (apartment block) with public and private buildings also with mosaics, and bathing areas and stretches of the ‘basolato’ street paving. The remains of a room from the roman era are preserved not far away, at the Temple of Saint John of the Sepulchre, an interesting building based on a circular plan from the 11th century.

Castles and fortified towers in the area bear witness to a system of fortifications built with the primary aim of protecting the land from raids which took place continuously with the succession over time of powerful insurgents and their settlements. In this district there are many castles of Norman-Swabian and Aragonese origin like those of Carovigno, San Vito dei Normanni to which can be added the swabian castle and aragonese castle of the Sea Fortress of Brindisi.

Stages of CULTURE

Area archeologica San Pietro degli Schiavoni
Brindisi, via Santi, 1
Tel.: 0831 229643
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Website: www.visitbrindisi.it
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Castello d'Alceste
S.Vito dei Normanni, Via Tibullo Albio
Tel.: 0831 955212
Fax: 0831 955230
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Website: www.castellodialceste.it
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Dolmen Montalbano (II millennio a.C.)
Ostuni, c.da Pescomarano - SS 16 Fasano-Ostuni
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MAPRI - Museo archeologico provinciale Francesco Ribezzo
Brindisi, Piazza Duomo, 7
Tel.: 0831 524023
Fax: -
Cell.: 0831 565506
Website: www.provincia.brindisi.it
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Museo delle civiltà preclassiche della Murgia meridionale
Ostuni, Via Cattedrale, 15
Tel.: 0831 336383
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Website: www.comune.ostuni.br.it
e-mail: museo.ostuni@libero.it

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Museo laboratorio della civiltà contadina
Pezze di Greco , Via della Fiera, 100
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Website: www.presepeviventepezzedigreco.it
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Museo Nazionale e Parco Archeologico di Egnazia
Savelletri di Fasano, Via degli Scavi
Tel.: 080 4829056
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Cell.: 080 4827895
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e-mail: museoarch.egnazia@libero.it

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Parco archeologico di Santa Maria d'Agnano
Ostuni, Strada Statale 16 per Bari Km. 878/11
Tel.: 0831 303973
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Website: www.comune.ostuni.br.it
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Sala della Colonna
Brindisi, via Duomo
Tel.: 0831 229643/696/647
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Rock settlements along the Trajan Way

Rock settlements were established in the area of the Trajan Way, right from the late ancient era. The area has many ‘lame’ (eroded rain gulleys of limestone origin) which house and protect these veritable rupestrian villages from the high medieval period, with churches, dwelling rooms, olive presses which were sometimes lived in and used up till the last century. The largest rock settlements are to be found along the coastal strip.

The best known and preserved rupestrian villages can be seen from the area of Fasano where the Rupestrian Park of Lama d’Antico is to be found amongst the ‘lame’. It is made up of about thirty grottoes most of which can be visited, laid out on various levels and connected with passageways and stairways cut into the rock. In the various areas there are to be found a small olive press, storerooms, a chemist’s, a burial ground and a basilica.

It is a perfect marriage between natural vegetation and agrarian landscape, with ancient olive trees and carob trees. Not far away and nearer to the town, the rock settlements with the churches in the grotto of Saint John and Saint Lawrence, and the numerous other grottoes found along the rain gulley between the wild plants which are typical of the mediterranean maquis.  
Following the route of the Trajan Way in the district of Fasano you can visit the rock settlements of Seppannibale and the rupestrian village of the Lama del Trappeto, where they have put on a living Nativity Scene for 25 years.

There are many grottoes in the area of Ostuni, such as those found under the churches of San Biagio in Rialbo, Santa Maria d’Agnano, Madonna della Nova and of the Sanctuary of Saint Oronzo, in the crypts of Saint Margherita and Saint Lucia and those found in the areas of Lamacornola, Torre Bianca, Rosamarina and Mangiamuso.

The other main rupestrian settlements and churches are found in the district of Carovigno, with the crypt of Saint Nicola in the area of Aspro Farmhouse and that of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Belvedere with a small church built upon an ancient crypt which houses an icon of Our Lady with child, a fresco in Byzantine style. The sanctuary can be reached from the provincial road, SP 33 about 3 kms from Carovigno. In this area there are two interesting rupestrian complexes in the Jannuzzo district: the grottoes in the grounds of the famous crypt of Saint Biagio, where a cycle of pictures is preserved which is unique in Southern Italy, that of the life of Christ dated the 8th of October, 1196 and, not far way, in the village of Cafaro, there is the grotto-crypt of Saint John both by the Canale Reale.

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