FOGGIA, IN THE CENTRE OF THE TAVOLIERE

Today, as in the past, the city in the middle of Puglia’s plains is an important meeting and communication point.

History

According to official historic records, the ancient “Fovea” (a tank in which wheat gathered from the plains is kept) was founded by the inhabitants of ancient Arpi, a prosperous centre in pre-roman times, and subsequently flourished under Frederick II in the thirteenth century.  The city quickly became one of the most important in the Kingdom of King Svevo and after his death passed under his son, Manfred. The Angioines followed the Svevi and the city continued to flourish, whilst under Aragonese is became one of the most important market centres in Southern Italy. During the Spanish rule that followed, little appreciated by the Foggian people, there was a violent earthquake in 1731 that almost destroyed the whole city. Reconstruction was extremely slow and was only completed during the Bourbon Restoration under the rule of Ferdinand III.  In 1799 Foggia took part in the anti-bourbon movement of the Neapolitan Republic, thus strengthening its ideals of freedom and independence. Following the death of Napoleon the Bourbon Restoration ended and the city, after a serious epidemic of cholera, slowly moved towards is own independent model. Foggia was rebuilt from scratch following the terrible Anglo-American bombing of July 1943, and continues to expand and grow due to its agricultural based economy.

The city and its monuments

Located in the centre of the Tavoliere delle Puglie, Foggia today represents an important strategic point in the road network and, above all, in the railway system. It is possible to travel to the main cities of North and South Italy from Foggia. Amongst its main monuments the following are worthy of note: the Cathedral, a building that dates back from the twelfth century and that has undergone numerous renovations during the course of the centuries.  Its interior was completed in the 1700’s; Palazzo Arpi, the building constructed on the remains of the Imperial Palace, commissioned by Frederick II in the thirteenth century, and that today hosts the council Museum and Art Gallery; Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the road with the Giordano Theatre that finishes in piazza Giordano, where the church of Gesù e Maria is located; finally there is Piazza Cavour, with its central fountain that is the entrance to the Villa comunale: Viale XXIV Maggio branches off from this square and is full of eighteenth century buildings.

The geographical area

Throughout the area surrounding Foggia the famous trulli are scattered.  These buildings are known throughout the world for their beauty and uniqueness and are extraordinary examples of popular Italian architecture. The Tremiti Islands are one of the most important tourist areas, found between the Gargano coast and that of Molise, and are five extremely beautiful islands that offer wonderful sights such as caves, faraglioni, bays and coves all immersed in Mediterranean greenery, which since 1989 is preserved under the “Parco Marino” institution; Vieste has its historic centre and Svevo castle; Peschici is located on a steep slope that descends into the sea and has remains of the walls that once surrounded the ancient part of the town. Amongst the other towns there is also San Giovanni Rotondo, famous for its sanctuary built upon request of Padre Pio and now the destination of a continuous stream of pilgrims.