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Barletta Fact and Fiction

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The city of Barletta has about 94,000 residents and can be found in the south eastern part of Italy. The city of Barletta is known for the "Disfida Di Barletta the famous Joust of Barletta that took place on February 13, 1503. This battle consisted of thirteen Italian knights fighting and conquering thirteen French Knights. To learn more about this battle check out "Ettore Fieramosca o la Disfida di Barletta", a book by Massimo D'Azeglio which describes this battle. The book was written in 1833.

From 1806 until 1927 Barletta was the capital for the area, and under Joachim Murat the city sided with the French at the time of the Napoleonic War. Barletta is best known for its agricultural production, because of the fertile lands that surround the area because of the fertile plains of Tavoliere which begins at Barletta. Their most common crops are grapes and olives. They also have a large production of cement and concrete adding to the cities success.

This city is also known for the largest bronze statue of possibly Theodosius II a Roman Emperor. The statue was named by the people Eraclio. According to local lore the beautiful city of Barletta was saved from a horrific attack from the Sarcen by the mysterious giant statue. According to the story the citizens were alerted to the approach of a large army who were determined to destroy their quaint little town. According to the story the statue came to life, and went a short distance from the town towards the sea where the ships had been seen coming in. In one story the oldest citizen of the town an older woman talked to him wishing he could come to life and save the town, which he did. In this story all the residents went into hiding while he sat alongside the road holding half of an onion in each of his fists, which made him cry. When the soldiers approached they inquired about his sadness to which he said he was sad because he was the smallest boy in the town and none of the other boys would play with him. He said they picked on him and called him names and he was crying because he wanted to be as big as the other boys so they would play with him. According to this legend the soldiers all ran away because they were afraid the city was made up of giants and were afraid to fight them.

There are many great sites to see while visiting the area the Normans originally constructed "The Castle" during the 10th century. It was used in 1915 as a barracks and military store when it was attacked by the German ship Helgoland at which time it became a defense position against the German army. The statue known as the Colossus of Barletta is a must to see. It is the basis of the story of the Giant Boy who saved the city from the Sarcen. Another popular site to visit is the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher which was erected in the 12th century. The amazing Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore represents the blending of Roman and Gothic designs. In 1751 the Church of San Giacomo was restored into its current state after the devastating earthquake destroyed most of the city. Outside of Salento is the Palace of the Marra can be seen close by the local art gallery which is a must see while visiting the city. A former prison for the slaves known as the Cellar of the Challenge is an educational adventure. Finally the Battle of Cannae is where the archeological site Canne delle Battaglia is a reminder of the struggles the city has experienced since its beginnings. The battle was part of the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. It took place on August 2, 216 BC and resulted in Hannibal's' victory and the loss of 86000 Roman troops. It was the last major battle in Italy during that war. This battle and tactics are still part of the study in most all war colleges today.

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