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La historia
The archaic archaeological sites
The Daunians, the Peucetians, the Greeks and the Romans
The ruralisation of the territory, the monastic settlements, the Saracen invasions
The Normans, the Swabians, the Angevins, the Aragonese
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The Normans, the Swabians, the Angevins, the Aragonese
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All these contributions, each different from the other, generated a new dynamism in the territorial agricultural order, which later suffered the consequences of the great social and political transformations in the 11th to the 14th centuries. In this period, which corresponds to the Norman, Swabian and Angevin domination, a critical process of revival began throughout Puglia, with deep repercussions, obviously on the modification of the landscape.

The economic model and the model of territorial relationships that developed during these three centuries of history, saw for the first time, a close correlation between inland and coastal areas, promoted and supported by fervid legislative activity. Reinvigorated by the economic and cultural revival that was having an effect on the Mediterranean area, the coastal cities distributed the agricultural goods coming from the inland areas to the large international market. This created the need for a territorial organisation based on a group formed by coastal cities and the large urban centres just inland, and an intelligent distribution of farmhouses and farm-estates to serve the areas further inland. A well-developed road system connected the urban centres, re-enforcing the layout of the Roman epoch and forming that characteristic triangular road system, still valid today, in which every two cities on the sea correspond to an inland city. This new system was built prevalently in the Norman epoch, from the 11th to the 13th centuries. In fact, in 1046 Andria, Barletta, Bisceglie and Corato were raised to the status of civitas, although it was not until 1130 that Ruggero II completed his conquest of Puglia, uniting it with the great kingdom of southern Italy.

The Normans, under the general control of a centralised state, introduced the feudal system and divided the Puglian area in counties administrated by counts and barons and subdivided into 792 feuds. The Murgian territory, covered by forests and pastures, was part of the state property of various feuds, in which civic customs were practised, like, for example, the right to hunt and the right of pasture. The cities (Civitates or Universitates) had an important role, subdivided in royal or state property cities, dependant on the King and part of the Crown property, and in baronial cities, incorporated in the feuds conceded to the barons. The Swabian government took over from the Normans: Enrico VI of Swabia assumed the crown of the Kingdom of Sicily at the beginning of 1200 and his son, Federico II, puer Apuliae, reigned from 1210 to 1250.

Federico II, with the Constitution of Capua (1220), re-appropriated the lands, farmhouses, castles and everything else that had, in the past, been his property.The Emperor organised an ever more present and super partes state which was vigilant and rigid against any attempts for revolts for autonomy and, at the same time, guarantor of the local customs of each city and territory, with respect for the Puglian traditions consolidated in the Roman, Longobard and Byzantine epochs. Besides the imposing system of fortification and defence for the cities, during the Norman and Swabian domination there was also a productive revival in the countryside based on a balanced relationship between agriculture, pasture and exploitation of the forest resources. Federico II disciplined the organisation of the farm estates with the Encyclica Super Massaris Curiae Procurandis et Provide Regendi, which was exceptional for its modernity of thought and approach and for the influence that it had on the organisation of the agrarian landscape.
Listing all the farm estates belonging to the Crown and those more recently present in the territory is a difficult task. Just travel any of the country road to find truly splendid examples (some of which have been turned into restaurants or hotels of great charm).

While in the Murgian areas, dominate
Castel del Monte Castel del Monte Andria
On the 29th January 1240, Emperor Frederick II signed a decree ordering Richard of Montefuscolo, the governor of Capitanata, to prepare...
Swabian castle Swabian castle Trani
Trani castle is one of the most beautiful examples of fortification erected in Puglia by Frederick II of Swabia. Its construction,...
Swabian castle Swabian castle Barletta
The original seat of the castle dates back to Norman times, while Frederick occupied the castle from 1225 to 1228. During the Crusades...
Torre maestra Bisceglie  
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