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Rutigliano (Italy) A medieval town with a long tradition in the production of handcrafted terracotta

Rutigliano (Italy) A medieval town with a long tradition in the production of handcrafted terracotta

December 2019 · 5 min read · Apulia

Living a passion it's like breathing to me: you can't help it!
I love to travel and taking photos and to transmit through them every emotion that I've experienced in seeing place that have a lot to say!

With this post I will therefore continue my journey through the many medieval villages in the province of Bari in the most authentic and unspoilt Apulia region (in the south of Italy).
To do it as well as possible, I took advantage of a morning off and of a very beautiful day from the meteorological point of view.
I will not hide from you that I've been keeping my photo backpack and I got everything I need in it.

If we talk about tradition, it's impossible not to talk about Rutigliano!
This small town of just over 16 thousand inhabitants has a long historical tradition in the artisan manufacture of the terra-cotta and of the whistles in particular.
Every year a Terra-cotta Whistle Festival is hosted in the town and during this event hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Rutigliano!

On that occasion there is also a competition at which the most beautiful whistle of the year be rewarded... a folk show really appreciated by visitors!

In my opinion, the most beautiful way to get in touch with this small village was to start walking through the narrow streets of the beautiful old town in which I perceived the historical importance of this place.
The origin of Rutigliano is certainly dating back to the Middle Ages, the time in history when agricultural populations moved from countryside towards the emerging villages built around an important place, often represented by a Basilica or an important Church but also a Civil Power.

Rutigliano confirms this historical evidence; it is in a panoramic position on a hill to dominate the surrounding territory and its historic center was built around the mother Church of Santa Maria della Colonna and San Nicola (whom I shall speak to you in a next post).

In the village there are many historical palaces of which it is impossible not to notice the extraordinary beauty of the exteriors and that belonged to prominent and influential families who have been alternating over the centuries.
In an alley behind the mother Church I stumbled upon what I then I found out was Antonelli Palace.

If you are passionate about architecture, especially that dating back to the late Renaissance period, Antonelli Palace is an unmissable stop during a visit to Rutigliano.
I admit that I took a lot photos (many more than I have published in this post) because it absolutely fascinated me!
It is characterized by a central block with a loggia consisting of three arcades on mullions with corinthian capitals adorned with figures and decorated with puttoes.
You know, the facade is really remarkable and it's a worthy example how undervalued this village is from the touristic point of view.



Of course, Antonelli Palace is not the only example of a building inhabited by upper middle class of Rutigliano because scattered throughout the old town you can admire many others.
And in fact, continuing along the alley where I had admired Antonelli Palace, I’ve come to a pedestrian zone in which Catapano Palace caught my eye.

The term "Catapano" is an ever-recurring theme in the history of Southern Italy.... The origin of this term is linked to the figure of catapan, a provincial governor in the Byzantine Empire, even if after the year 1000 this term meant a high political and military official such as a governor, a judicial magistrates or a military officer.
The Catapano Palace therefore is nothing more than the seat of one of these high offices.
It's represented by an interesting architecture with its high donjon which immediately focused my attention.
I was saddened to have to say that instead of being a seat of a museum or anything like that, it is today a Pizzeria Restaurant.

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Walking through the alley on the right of the Catapano palace, I found myself before an ancient arch across which there was what was supposed to be the court of the Norman castle!
I felt much moved when I came into this court, because I almost came into contact with the history of the place.
Actually, not much remain of the Castle except for the Norman Tower which is the bastion around which was originally built the whole castle. This happened around the year 1000.
Really eye catcher, with the tower rising above the historic centre, proud and majestic!

After standing by and watching and photograph the tower from every possible angle, understanding why it has de facto become the town's symbol, I continued my walk through clean and well kept alleys from which it is possible to enjoy wonderful glimpses of the bell tower of the Mother church or dwellings with a rich history dating back to past centuries.

Like every medieval village risen around an important church, Rutigliano has many testimonies of the locals' faith; even here I had the opportunity to admire the classical votive aediculas (very widespread in the southern Italy) or religious paintings.

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But that didn't really surprise me much. Rutigliano it's not just craftsmanship of the objects in terra-cotta and whistles.. in fact, this village earned the title of "City of Art" since 2010 and this because of the priceless heritage of historical, cultural, artistic and monumental elements.

It's really a very interesting place to visit that I would recommend to anyone like art and architecture, but also to history lovers.. I liked it very much!

All photos taken by me.
Some photos contain some Lightroom post processing.
All rights reserved.

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