Castellaneta

Infobox CityIT
img_coa =castellaneta-Stemma.gif
img_coa_small = yes
official_name = Comune di Castellaneta
name= Castellaneta
region = Puglia
province = Taranto (TA)
elevation_m = 245
area_total_km2 = 239
population_as_of = 2007-12-31
population_total =17254
population_density_km2 =
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|40|38|N|16|56|E
frazioni = Marina di Castellaneta, Gaudella
telephone = 099
postalcode = 74011
gentilic =Castellanetani
saint = St. Nicholas and St. Francis of Paola
day = december 8
mayor =Italo D'Alessandro
website = [http://www.comune.castellaneta.ta.it/ www.comune.castellaneta.ta.it]
mapx = 40.63
mapy=16.93



image_caption=View of the historical centre.

Castellaneta is a city of the province of Taranto in Puglia region, in Southern Italy, about 40 km from Taranto. Located in a territory spanning from the Murgia to the Ionian Sea, characterized by numerous "gravina" ravines, it is part of the Comunità Montana della Murgia Tarantina (Tarentine Murgia Mountain Community).

History

Human settlements were present in the area since the Bronze Age (3rd-2nd millennium BC), and it was later probably settled by Sicels, Messapii and Iapyges.According to a theory, a fortified city (Castania in Latin) was founded in 550, and grew in size when the population of neighbour cities flede here from Saracen attacks. Other historians maintain instead that it was a Greek colony which existed until the 8th century. When the Saracens destroyed it, the inhabitants joined in a "Castellum Unitum" (United Castle) on the hills, whence the current name.

Whatever its origin, Castellaneta was conquered by the Normans in 1064, taken by Duke Robert of Taranto, who expelled its Byzantine inhabitants. At that time, probably, the episcopal see was created. In the 13th century Charles of Anjou turned it first into a fief, and later in a King's city. In 1503, during the Italian Wars, the citizens pushed back a French occupation force under the Duke of Nemours, in the so-called "Sack of Castellaneta". In 1519 the Spaniards sold it to Flemish feudataries, and thenceforth the city started to decline as secondary center.

In the course of World War II, the withdrawing Germans bombed it, killing 27 people. For this feat the city received a bronze medal to civil valour.

Main sights

*The Cathedral ("Chiesa di San Nicola") was built in 1220 but was totally remade in the 18th century, along Baroque lines. Noteworthy are the façade and three canvasses by Carlo Porta. Annexed is the "Palazzo Vescovile" (Bishops' Palace), housing other works of art.
*"San Domenico", with a façade in both Renaissance and Baroque styles.
*"San Francesco d'Assisi" (1471), with canvasses from the 17th century.
*"Santa Maria della Luce" (13th century), is one of the few example of Angevine-Gothic architecture in the area, along with the Cathedral's bell tower. Built on uneven terrain, it is in the shape of a ship's deck, and has interesting frescoes in the interior.
*The "Gravina of Castelleneta" and numerous carved caves, once inhabited by local population, some of them used as churches.

Famous people

Actor Rudolph Valentino was born in Castellaneta in 1895.

ources

*cite book|last=Arditi|first=Giacomo|title=La corografia fisica e storica della Provincia di Terra d'Otranto|pages=118-125|location=Lecce|year=1895
*cite book|title=Castellaneta nei manoscritti del Prof. Nicola d'Alagni|last=Colafemmina|first=Donato|location=Castellaneta|year=1980

Link

* [http://www.castellaneta-ta.it Castellaneta - A Spasso per la Città del Mito]


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