Giovinazzo, in Puglia, Bari area, is a village in all respects, with the historic center directly on the sea. History, art and nature meet here. Genuine devotions, ancient maritime culture, a dolmen and also a great painter like Lotto. Summer is now a memory but Giovinazzo is always beautiful and interesting.
Land where the mistral has played to draw the faces of houses perched on the coasts, where people over the centuries have worked the land and the sea itself.
Yes, because on one side there was the internal air of the Murgia, with its stones and its trees, its dry stone walls and all the typical rural buildings of the place, not least the lost little churches. And on the other there was and there is the refreshing air of blue, breeze of enchantment after days of hard work in the fields, where in reality work often continued and where, as peasants, we turned into fishermen.
Because here in the South is the nature that has been building for centuries. We are in the Bari area, the center of Puglia. We're concentrating on Giovinazzo.
It is a town where, surrounded in every where from history and art and from sceneries to peak on the sea, it becomes easy to grasp still the happy one and all in all old dimension of the small coastal village of once, from the historical center, small and customized of man.
Among the ancient walls you can breathe the legacy of the centuries, which can be traced especially in the historic houses, in the palaces of the great families, in the churches with enviable artistic qualities. And then in an area that amazes.
It is in fact from the inestimable heritage of the dolmen of San Silvestro, to Giovinazzo, that we intend to leave. We are on the road to Terlizzi. Here the archaic history of man and his evolution is well defined.
Here a genius loci is fully expressed, coming from far away.
Photo Nicola Ditillo
From the dolmen, located in fairly high ground, the first communities of what would later become the current Giovinazzo controlled the area to the sea, when there was still the green and immense expanse of olive trees that characterizes this landscape and that sees in Bitonto the city near and queen of the oil.
The dolmen lives a period of rebirth, for intelligent political will.
It is among the best preserved megalithic structures in Italy and certainly the most philologically protected dolmen in Puglia.
Discovered in 1961 and entitled to San Silvestro (name related to the whole archaeological area), it can be dated to the Bronze Age, II millennium BC, a funerary monument that so much tells of the social importance of the place in antiquity.
But Giovinazzo crosses the centuries, becoming then Roman, with the testimony of the famous arch called "di Traiano", by the emperor who would have helped to strengthen the defenses of the center, then retouched through the centuries (nice the round Aragonese tower, on the port) .
We are at one of the oldest gates of the historic center, a bridge between the new and the old city.
Here you can also admire four milestones of the nearby Via Traiana.
It follows the Christian Middle Ages, with the cult towards the Madonna of Constantinople and then towards the patron of Corsignano, rural area whose name will then be the appellative of the Madonna, beloved by the faithful of the place.
Countless interesting churches, above all the co-cathedral of the diocese of Molfetta. But Giovinazzo has had his diocese since the fifth century.
Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, the sacred space is known for the paintings of the great seventeenth-century painter Carlo Rosa, born here but considered bitontino by adoption, given that in Bitonto he put on one of the most interesting shops of all the southern art of the period .
The crypt is valuable, with really impressive columns.
Among other churches, that of Carmine, Sant’Andrea, the Holy Spirit, the Crucifix and St. Augustine (the latter located in the new part of the country). Not to mention the rural churches, the legacy of the old faith of the peasants and of the simple people of this land. A few meters from the cathedral, the austere and grand ducal palace, with an airy atrium.
But particular pride of Giovinazzo, an element that for lovers and lovers is already worth a visit, is the presence of a canvas by the famous Venetian Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto.
We are in the large convent church of San Domenico, which later became an important charity: it is a "San Felice in cathedra", a work of 1542, expressly commissioned by some wealthy young people of the time to the great artist, originally part of a triptych placed on the whole, in fact, of San Felice.
Since 1878 it is in San Domenico, recently restored.
We breathe still almost summer breeze passing from the port.
Admiring it already coming out of the large new square or enjoying it coming down from the slight ledge where the co-cathedral insists, the visitor has the feeling of what Giovinazzo is and has been: fishing village with a small and therefore historically picturesque port.
A past whose splendor here is admired intact. The sea reigns over everything. Giovinazzo is such a land where nature and history have created enviable entanglements of charm.
A city that has grown so much, with significant urban spaces outside the walls.
Think of the large square named after Vittorio Emanuele II, with the imperious fountain of the Tritoni (1933). Also here, a majestic neoclassical building, belonging to the Sicilian family of Rende, recalls the passage of the future Pope Benedict XV, still a cardinal.
Foto Fabio Palagiano
So we salute the beautiful Giovinazzo, a city famous also for being the birthplace of a medieval blessed, the Dominican Nicola Paglia. And then even to the forefathers of a famous American actor: John Turturro.