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Francavilla Fontana

 

FRANCAVILLA FONTANA

 

FRANCAVILLA FONTANA – The City of the Imperiali and the homeland of Quintus Ennius. The Francavilla Fontana area has been inhabited since ancient times, with evidence of settlements there dating to the Neolithic, Messapian and Roman periods. The town of Francavilla Fontana is believed to correspond to the ancient Rudiae, the birthplace of the poet Quintus Ennius, the founding father of Latin literature. The town began to develop on a large scale at the beginning of the 14th century under Philip I of Anjou, Prince of Taranto. Legend has it that on 14th September 1310, during a hunting trip, the Prince discovered an image of the Virgin Mary with Child, and was so overwhelmed by such a vision that he had a Chapel built there. In the mid-fi fteenth century, one of Italy’s leading families, the Orsini Del Balzo, ordered work to begin on the marvellous castle and the other defensive structures of the town. In 1579, the fief of Francavilla Fontana became the property of the young aristocrat from Genoa, Davide Imperiali. The city walls had to be widened to contain this growth, and the castle was turned into an impressive noble residence, with the outside appearance of a military fortress concealing the luxury fit for a king within its walls. After the 1743 earthquake reduced the Chapel of the Virgin to rubble, the Imperiali family had the Mother Church built on the same spot. This was a magnifi cent construction, with the highest dome in the whole of the Salento area. The sober, perfectly balanced facade features exquisite decorations and is fl anked on either side by statues of Saint Paul and Saint Peter respectively. Inside the church are a wealth of fi ne paintings, including works by Carella (1721 – 1813), known as the “Tiepolo of Puglia” and by L. delli Guanti. In the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Fountain, the patron of the town, is the legendary icon of the same name, the Blessed Virgin with Child, in Byzantine style. There are a large number of churches in the area. Particularly deserving of a visit is the Church of Saint Sebastian, adjoining which is the former Ferdinando degli Scolopi College, once a seat of the university; inside we can admire a series of magnifi cent Baroque altars. Also interesting is the Church of Saint Alphonse Liguori, which represents both how devoted the local people have always been to the church and how prosperous Francavilla Fontana has traditionally been. Places to see: the churches: Mother Church, church of the Liguorini fathers, church of Santa Chiara, church of San Sebastiano, church del Carmine; Palazzo Argentina, the castle, Church dell’Immacolata, church dello Spirito Santo, Palazzo Giannuzzi- Bottari-Carissimo.

Francavilla Fontana

Tourist Office
Via Municipio, presso Castello Imperiali
+39 0831811262 Fax 0831820436
iat.francavilla@libero.it; info.francavilla@viaggiareinpuglia.it

Tourist office
Piazza Marconi, 14
0831 810547

Pro Loco - Tourist Office
Piazza Antonio di Mitri, 4
+39 0831/854774
proloco-francavilla@libero.it

Town Police
+39 0831/841014

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