To view the whole territory from a high point, and to visit the very famous Castel del Monte, which is the shield that unites these communities in the Territorial Pact, go first to Andria. Its territory extends deeply inland and the castle is located 17 miles away from the city centre. However, those who stop to visit the urban centre will be surprised by a very large and complex city, in which the historical territorial events discussed previously are summed up in a dense and extraordinarily legible plot.
A site favoured by Federico II, surely, but also a highly desirable feud for the fertility of its lands and, even earlier, the site of settlements probably dating back to the pre-Roman epoch. Andria was located, in antiquity, on an important ancient river, the Aveldium, which flowed into the sea near Barletta. Its path corresponds to the current Camaggi Canal. The presence of water explains the founding of the first settlements, the highly important role of the city in the network of sheep-tracks (Andria was an important Locatione, or cluster of transhumance Poste, as is indicated by all ancient cartography). Naturally, it also explains the conformation of the city itself, which only seems to be flat, but which, in reality, is built on a continual series of hills, alluvial plains and slopes (in its traditional toponymy, the names of all places are preceded by the words “over” or “under”). Added to this complexity is the stratification of the various urban layouts, which range from the contorted neighbourhood of Arabian design, to the orthogonal design of the Medieval centre, to 19th century expansion which developed outward like the spokes of a wheel, without forgetting the seats of convents, highly important garrisons that contributed more than a little to determining the design and the guidelines for city development. All of which is surpassed by the monumental nucleus made up of the Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and the Ducal Palace, rebuilt on the site of the ancient Norman citadel: the cornerstones of ecclesiastic and laic power.
A very large and modern city with a vast agricultural territory, a large producer of oil and wine, but also a rich manufacturing and commercial centre. Since the end of the last World War until today, the city of Andria has had to come to grips with the effects of its extraordinary expansion, begun in the 1900's and not finished yet. However, the city is now progressively recovering a sense of its complex identity, somewhat dimmed in the past by the rather unwieldy “shadow” of the Federician emperor, who in that ”Andria fidelis mea affixa medullis” (legendary inscription-dedication, still legible today at Saint Andrew's Port) seems to have wanted to permanently tie the image of this city to that of his power. It is interesting to note, however, how, using the Federician influence, Andria is developing the very modern sense of the mixture of cultures, curiosity and openness to what is new, as shown by the numerous national-level initiatives that have been promoted by the city in recent years. It is illuminating to see how the enormous plaza known as “Catuma” (piazza Vittorio Emanuele II), which used to be the site for contracting for labourers, has today become, besides a privileged entrance to the monumental centre, the chosen site for large civic demonstrations and for important cultural and entertainment events.