Il Mezzogiorno - Naples & Southern Italy - September 2010

Apulia

Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini

 

The Gargano Promontory is a mountainous natural region that forms the “spur” of the boot of Italy.  The Archangel Michael appeared in a cave there three times between 490-493.  An abbey was founded and Monte Sant’Angelo became a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. 

Apulia (Puglia) is the southeastern part of the “boot” of Italy along the Adriatic coast.  It was originally settled by the Greeks and came under Roman domination in the 3rd century BC. In time, it was dominated by the Byzantines, Saracens and Lombards who sought the help of the Normans in the 11th century.  The Normans unified all of southern Italy and formed the Kingdom of Sicily with the pope’s blessing.  It’s architecture has been influenced by many cultures.

The “wonder of the age”, Frederick II, inherited the Kingdom of Sicily in the 13th century and later became the Holy Roman Emperor.  He lived most of his life in Apulia and was involved with the Crusades that departed from its ports.  Possibly expressing the magic of the number eight, Frederick built the mysterious octagonal Castel del Monte. 

The ports on the Adriatic have been important historically. The Normans and Frederick II built churches and over 200 fortresses to control and defend their kingdom and launch the Crusades.   Even though they were commercial centers in the Middle Ages, they functioned as part of the area’s feudal system and did not industrialize and grow like the rest of Europe.

The Sassi of Matera is the only place in the world where people may still be living in the same houses as their ancestors of 9000 years ago.  Many of the houses are really caverns and some streets now are on the rooftops of other houses.  As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is described as the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region.

Built on a high hill, inside it is more like a command center and residence than a fortress.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The photographs were taken with Leica cameras, the M8, M9 and D-LUX 3.  All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We can be contacted via e-mail at fogler.mancini@sbcglobal.net.   Our home page is http://www.fogler-mancini-photos.com/Home/Fogler-Mancini_Home.html

March 9, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           wgfm

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