GREENERY AND MEMORY
Greenery and memory is an itinerary that will take you to breathtaking landscape road routes particularly memorable for their historical value.
It will take you straight to the heart of the Tavoliere while touching gently over the mesmerizing cut back views of old settlements. It is all about woodlands, Mediterranean maquis, archeological corners and rural farmlands.
Enjoy the deep crossover of identities, tales and trails of these surroundings. Starting ideally from the centre of Torremaggiore, from the Castello Ducale Di Sangro, passing by workshops, licking the Fortore, and along the humid zones, and the green lawns and pastures, you will be travelling with no time keeping, just taking it as easy as it comes, with no rush.
It is this pace that will lead you from borgo Torremaggiore to Tiati-Teanum Apulum by San Paolo di Civitade a place of strong archeological value especially remarkable for its thinkers and action life repertoire. History and tales here inter-exchange. They both seem to speak about the land, the past, and the all that happened in this miniature ‘location’ during the Final Bronze Age and the first half of the Age of Iron (XI-IX c BC). Tiati-Teanum Apulum was funded then and soon to become the most important settlement in the Daunia area for being strategically well located controlling from above the river Fortore plain all the way to the Adriatic cost up to the Tremiti Islands. It iterally means that all points of access from the north or the west were in its control, including the eastern side plain which in fact reaches up to the slopes of the Garganic promontory. It is worth mentioning the Battaglia di Civitate dated 18th June 1053 a battle between the Normans and the soldiers of Pope Leon IX. The Normans defeated the Pope troupes and imprisoned the Holy Father himself. This will later have a very strong impact in the history of the ‘Mezzogiorno’ of Italy (the South). The whole area of San Paolo di Civitate carries traces of history all around. It is located on a hill from where it is possible to spot the Gargano and also, the first signs of the pre-Apennine heights. This settlement originates since the first millennium BC, during the Daunia times when the first Tiati domination happened. Later, it was re-named by the Romans as Teanum Apulum until when the Emperor Trajan full y changed its name to Civitate. The historical ventures of Civitate don’t stop here. During Byzantine times it became an Episcopal residence later completely devastated by the Normans invasions, not withstanding the fairly frequent earthquakes. A significant earthquake happened in 1672. It destroyed the church of Santa Maria di Loreto and the church of San Nicola, originally erected in the XVII c then re-built in 1704 by Michele Magnati. Few more steps ahead and you will be soon admiring the cathedral dedicated to San Paolo which still remains the very first settlement of this whole Borgo.
Green scenery, water and memory are here highly connected. Water is a noteworthy element of this trail. Water because the waters of the river Fortore and all the other small torrents plough together making the farmlands around very strong and fruitful. This is the habitat of these surroundings. From here continue walking towards the sea, towards the very last stretch of the Lesina dune up to reaching Torre Fortore, an important geographical point of reference with amazing panoramic views of the Piano del Paesaggio. This is the location where all the waters meet.
From here follow on walking slowly along the canal connecting the sea with Lago di Lesina and with the multitude of minor streams responsible for the drainage of the surrounding agricultural intensive farming lands. As an alternative, still within this itinerary, it is easy to reach Poggio Imperiale by walking across the hills, following for the wind passage, reaching the excavations via the ‘marble’ town, the town of the ‘stone’, Apricena. The main building of this large country house was built in the VIII c and was known as ‘Precina’ or ‘Percina’ from a wild boar dinner originally ordered and served to Federico II (Apercoena=wild boar dinner) on these premises. Apricena is also the city where Matteo Salvatore was born. Strolling through the alleys, the squares and courts it is almost as if you could hear the sound of his guitar accompanied by his voice, the voice of the exploited, the used and the mendicants. Misery, starvation and social denounce are the themes of his poetry. He is a ballad singer-musician who describes things very vividly and with no rhetorical frenzies. He speaks of the ‘pezzenti’ (wretches), he speaks on behalf of those who have nothing. In the surrounding areas to Apricena it easy to find ruins of other important fortified settlements like Castel Pagano, Santa Maria di Selva della Rocca including the ruins of the remarkable Benedictine monastery of San Giovanni in Piano. Castel Pagano is famous for belonging to the times of the Suevian domination and for when in 1223 the Emperor Federico II allowed the Saracens, coming from Sicily, to settle in. This, together with the positioning of its prominent location above the rocks, increased the value of this settlement so alloweing Federico to fully maximize its social and productive organization.
The very old settlement of Castelsaraceno, better know as Castel Pagano, is definitely linked to the Domus Precina. It is located just exactly on the edges of the crest that looks over the Tavoliere delle Puglie and it is almost like a guardian to the passages that run just below leading to the Gargano Mistico approach (the Via Sacra Langobardorum coming from Benevento meeting the Via Francesca that comes from the Adriatic coast). This site, part of the Parco Nazionale del Gargano (Gargano National Park) still counts at present the remains of the original broad-leaved forest (various types of oaks, holms, maples, elm trees), the presence of mixed bushes and shrubs, including the very special meaningful Inula Candida, a protected botanical specie which is typical of the Gargano promontory together with the Primula Garganica. The absolute absence of any human activity allows this site to be populated by day and nighttime alike by birds of prey you will most definitely encounter while travelling along the crest of these altitudes enjoying looking at the mesmerizing contrasting landscape of the Tavoliere and the Daunia mountains.