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Glimpses of the city


Monopoly - Historical notes

Founded in the Middle Ages after the destruction of Egnazia, it is located on the site of an Apulian centre.

It had maritime importance under the Byzantine and Norman empires, as well as at the time of the crusades. It was always rich and flourishing but, due to its strategic position, always exposed to raids and invasions. 
In 1456 it was conquered, after a strenuous resistance, by the Venetians - allies of King Ferdinand I of Naples - in need of safe ports for their trades. In 1509 it passed instead to the Spanish, who strengthened the castle as a defense against the Turkish armies.
Until the 19th century it was the main oil export center of the kingdom of Naples. During the 1900s, therefore, it established itself as an important commercial center and, from the second half of the century, it was enriched by a solid manufacturing industry. At the end of the 1900s it had progressed conspicuously in every aspect of its economic branch.
The territory of Monopoli is made up of over 100 hamlets characterized by Mediterranean colors and scents. Among olive and almond trees, vineyards and wooded spots, there are numerous farms, often fortified by towers, machicolations and boundary walls, which were used to defend themselves from the incursions of pirates and brigands. These are the fortified farmhouses of Monopoli, today a mandatory stop on interesting itineraries that help to understand the history of peasant life.

In ruins, still linked to the agricultural tradition or transformed into luxurious accommodation or restaurant complexes, they preserve evident traces of the complex and tormented agricultural history of the South in their rustic or elegant, Mediterranean or Baroque architectural structure. In many of these farms we will come across numerous chapels and small churches, for the most part deconsecrated and trappeti, generally obtained in caves. In Contrada Chapter, a seaside village of Monopoli, you can admire the Masseria Garrappa, whose structure preserves intact the machicolations, the boundary wall, the bridge and the small church with a sixteenth-century portal, the Losciale and Lamalunga farm, built in 1600 and enriched then by the eighteenth-century staircase and the chapel. 
Towards the hill, interesting are Catalluccio, Spina Grande and Piccola and masseria Rota. An internal dirt road leads to one of the most interesting rural complexes in the area, Masseria Caramanna, characterized by a singular circular staircase and a linear balustrade on the terrace, from which you can admire the scenery that ranges from the hills to the sea._cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_
The Masseria Vagone, built in the 17th century, is characterized by the presence of a small church with a vault in Carparo (the white tuff originally from these lands).

On the 13 km of coast stands the fascinating Castle of Santo Stefano built right on that typical low and jagged coast that characterizes the Monopoli area. It was the most important coastal defensive system in Monopoli throughout the Middle Ages, founded in 1086 by Goffredo the Norman, it was built at the time of the Crusades on a small peninsula jutting out between two inlets which form two small natural harbours. With a circular plan, with the presence of a well from which to draw ground water, it was the seat of the Monastery of the Benedictines, who gave the name to the fortress due to the presence, inside, of the relics of Santo Stefano. The latter were transferred on 26 December 1365 precisely to defend them from the continuous Turkish and pirate attacks. Around the end of 1200, the Knights of Malta, with the aim of controlling naval traffic, decided to move to the abbey by fortifying the old defensive manor. They created a moat that is still visible today and made both coves to the right and left of the monastery-fortress useful for mooring. The presence of two hauls also gave the possibility of repairing several ships at the same time and supplying them with everything needed to embark on the journey to the Holy Land. An important historical event for the citizens of Monopoli is the landing of the Byzantine icon of the Madonna della Madia on 16 December 1117, while Romualdo was bishop of the city, in a period in which the roof of the new Cathedral could not be completed due to lack of money; Bishop Romualdo's insistent exhortations to the citizens to pray to the Madonna to help them complete the church resulted in the miraculous landing of the Odegitria, which is still today the protector of the city, precisely the Madonna della Madia. The icon arrived in Monopoli at dawn on December 16, 1117, transported by a raft of beams, which formed the covering of the roof of the church. Following this miraculous event, the new Cathedral, initially dedicated to Saints Maia and Mercury, was named after the Madonna della Madia.

Ancora (Cenni Storici)
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