GRAVINA IN PUGLIA
Town of art
Gravina, which is situated on the Murgia pleateu, along the important arterial road connecting Puglia to Basilicata, arises alongside one of the most majestic natural examples of existing ‘ravine’ along the way to cities like Matera, Laterza and Ginosa until its end to the Ionian Sea.
A union of culture, rocky civilization and history that makes this town unique as a whole.
Gravina has many treasures: a rich cultural heritage, the existence of a rocky civilization,
which is still alive, with its Churches and its natural caves the tourists should explore and to admire in amazement from their interior, which make you relive even now the origins of Gravina.
It’s a town you should not miss because of its charm and its typical healthy cuisine, full of unique tastes, which make Gravina an inestimable value town.
San Vito Vecchio Crypt
This crypt has been accurately rebuilt to preserve the frescoes which date back to the late Middle . Ages dominated in the middle by a majestic Christ Pantocrator. The frescoes have been shown at the Bruxelles international exhibition in 1958.
San Michele delle Grotte
The Church has been excavated in the tuff and has a quadrangular plan with five naves. It is situated in the ancient Fondovico or Fondovito district and every 8th of May many citizens visit it to celebrate San Michele delle Grotte festival and to relive the mythical appearance of the Saint in a cave in Monte Sant’Angelo. During this festival the inhabitants of the district decorate the streets with the so called ‘’balloni’”.
It is the last part of the sixteenth century city walls, and it connects Sant’Andrea district to the aqueduct bridge, giving to those who cross it a wonderful and unique sight of the ‘’gravina’’.
The double-arch building, started in 1743 and completed in 1778, was created as a viaduct-aqueduct to supply part of the city with water. It is the symbol of the city and it connects the two edges of the ravine.
Madonna della Stella
It is situated at the bottom of Botromagno hill and “Padre Eterno” archeological site. In 1500 it became a Marian shrine. The church is called Madonna della Stella because they found in its interior a Madonna and a baby with a star on his forehead fresco.
The ‘’Sette Camere’’ complex
It probably has its origins in the last centuries of the early Middle Ages. It is the result of the artificial excavation in the tuff, it is composed of several rooms and it is situated on the west side of the ‘’gravina’’.
San Basilio rocky Church
It is situated in Piaggio district and it is built up with four naves divided by pillars and irregular columns. The original apse is laterally positioned in the entrance. The modern period plaster has probably covered frescoes tracks.
Santa Maria degli Angeli
It is situated in the shelter of the viaduct-bridge. It is composed of three naves. In the central apse some fresco images and an altar used for the Eucharist distribution are kept.
Padre Eterno Archeological Area
The archeological area derives its name from the Padre Eterno rocky Church and it winds along the ‘’gravina’’ western ridge. Most of the archeological evidences have their origins between the VII BC century and the IV BC century.
Notar Domenico Square
It contains majestic and unique monuments like the Finya Library, one of the most ancient Apulian libraries containing a book heritage of more than eight thousand books, Santa Maria del Suffragio Church, built as a funerary chapel owned by the Orsini family from 1649 to 1654, and the Quattro Fontane monument which has been built in 1778 to bring water to the city from Pozzo Pateo source.
It is a minor Basilica devoted to Saint Maria Assunta, built during the eleventh century and enlarged during the fifteenth century. It is composed of three naves divided by columns with different capitals and contains marble polychrome altars from the early eighteenth century. You can admire the baptismal font, a Saint Michael statue made of mazzaro tuff in 1538, a walnut choir of late XVI century, a XV century rocky altarpiece, a woody crucifix of XVI-XVII centuries and a pipe organ with 2135 pipes. The ceiling is made of golden wood enriched by five paintings.
In 1224 Federico II of Svevia committed the construction of a castle to a Florentine architect as an adobe for himself and for his court for hunts with the falcon.
The Clock Tower
In a neo-Gothic tower, built along the town wall near the Orsini ducal palace, a clock has been collocated in 1892 that still works through four quadrants.
Ettore Pomarici Santomasi Museum
The “Ettore Pomarici Santomasi” Foundation, situated in the heart of the ancient town, was built in 1920. On the first floor, the apartment show an example of the life experienced by Pomarici Santomasi family. It is divided in seven rooms with Baroque furniture. The museum contains important and precious ceramic collections and bronze evidences discovered during the excavations on the Botromagno area and which have their origins in VII BC century. This collection includes more than 2000 precious evidences which are historically important because they make it possible to outline the main human settlement phases on the Gravina area from the origins.
The Alta Murgia National Park
The Alta Murgia National Park, instituted with Presidential Decree of the 10th March 2004, is one of the most extended national parks with its 68.077 hectars included in the areas of thirteen cities (Altamura, Andria, Bitonto, Cassano Murge, Corato, Gravina in Puglia, Grumo Appula, Minervino Murge, Poggiorsini, Ruvo di Puglia, Santeramo in Colle, Spinazzola, Toritto) related to Bari and BAT provinces. The Park area is characterized by a suggestive sequence of rocky ridges, dolines, hills, swallows, karst caves, steep scarps, extended natural and cultivated grazing lands, oak and conifer woods where the eternal action of nature is mixed and coexists with the millennial human one, who has built rocky manor farms, sometimes fortified to defend from marauders attacks, provided with fences and stables for flocks, cisterns, icehouses, little churches and infinite lattices of dry stone walls.
“Difesa Grande” Wood
The “Difesa Grande” Wood is a natural wood and represents a residual evidence of the luxuriant mesophilic forest which used to cover almost the entire Puglia. It is the most important wood of Bari province for its extension (1800 hectars) and biodiversity. Since 1998 it has become a SCI- Site of Community Importance (“Rete Natura” 2000), containing rare floristic and faunal species. It is probably the area with a greater concentration of Italian native oak species. The faunal complex is very rich thanks to a great ornithic frequency, most of which nasting, included in the regulations and safety Red Lists.