The archaeology train runs along the tracks of the railway from Barletta to Spinazzola, that snaky tract of tracks, about 70 kilometres long, built towards the end of the 1800’s to connect the high Murgia with the large lines of communication across the Valley of Ofanto, from the end of the valley down to the Adriatic.
Stopping off at Canosa di Puglia, on its way toward Minervino Murge and Spinazzola, to then continue on to the lands of Lucania, it is a journey in which the influences of history mix with traditions, folklore harmonises with good cuisine and the environment, in a landscape where this strip of splendid Puglian countryside offers postcard-perfect images in every season of the year.
In just nine minutes, immersing itself in luxuriating vineyards and secular olive groves, the archaeology train leaves Barletta and arrives at the small station at Canne della Battaglia. This is the only railway structure in all of Italy where tourists and passengers do not descend directly into an inhabited town, but into the archaeological area of a world famous site, indelibly marked by the traces of the passage of Hannibal the Carthaginian, who here, in August of the year 216 B.C., during the second Punic War, destroyed the Roman legions with his winning tenaille manoever, repeated by the Americans in the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 1991. A lesson in strategy and an ingenious military tactic still taught in all military academies around the world.
Canne (an important episcopal seat linked to Bishop Saint Roger) overlooks the whole horizon, as far as the Gargano, from its calcareous spur which dominates the natural theatre of that bloody defeat on the Olfanto plain. It, itself, offers the spectacle of an urban agglomerate still undergoing excavations. Its Antiquary contains findings from civilisations that range from the 6th millenium B.C. to the 13th century.
From the small station, you can proceed to the ancient fountain of Saint Roger and the nearby excavations of Saint Mercury, on the little hill of the same name, or to the nearby menhir, or to the area of the burial-grounds, where vast evidence of organised human presence is concentrated in the remains of the proto-historic villages which are well-documented by illustrated didactic panels and multimedia aids.