Canosa di Puglia

Canosa di Puglia

Canosa di Puglia, Lat. Canusium, city (1991 pop. 31,240), Apulia, S Italy, on the Ofanto River. It is a commercial and agricultural center. The city flourished under the Romans and was noted for its wool and its fine vases, many of which have been unearthed in nearby tombs (3d and 4th cent. B.C.). The Romans fled to Canusium after their disastrous defeat by Hannibal at nearby Cannae (216 B.C.). The city was destroyed by the Arabs in the 9th cent. but was resettled by the Normans in the 11th cent. There are other Roman remains, including walls, an amphitheater, and a gate. The city also has an 11th-century Romanesque cathedral and the mausoleum of the Norman leader Bohemond I (d. 1111), which has fine sculptured bronze doors.

Canosa should not be confused with Canossa in northern Italy.
Canosa di Puglia (or simply, Canosa; Latin: Canusium) is a town and comune in Apulia in southern Italy, between Bari and Foggia, located in the province of Bari, not far from the position on the Ofanto River where the Romans found refuge after the defeat of Cannæ. It is the burial place of Bohemund I of Antioch.

Canosa is considered the principal archaeological center of Puglia, and is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Italy. A number of important vases and other archaeological finds are located in local museums and private collections.

In 2009, when the Province of Bari will be split, Canosa will be part of the new Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani.


According to tradition, Canosa, then called Canusium, was founded by the Homeric hero Diomedes. Historically, it was one of the main center of the Dauni, in an area where human presence dates back from the 7th millennium BC.

In 318 BC the city allied with Rome, helping the Romans after their defeat at Cannae (216 BC). It became a Roman municipium in 88 BC and was a flourishing center for the production of wool. In 109 AD it was reached by the Via Traiana and in 141 an aqueduct brought fresh water ot the city. In the late 3rd century it became the capital of the Provincia Apuliae et Calabriae. In the following century it was the most important Christian diocese of southern Italy, famous as the "Bishop's City" and reaching the peak of its splendour under bishop Sabinus (514-566).

Under the Lombards, it was the seat of the Gastaldate, and in the following centuries suffered several Saracen attacks. Under the Normans (11th-12th centuries) Canosa recovered some importance, in particular thanks to prince Bohemund of Hauteville. However, after the end of the Hohenstaufen domination in Italy, it went into a decline that lasted until the 18th century: in this period it was ruled by the Orsini del Balzo, Grimaldi of Monaco, Affaitati and Capece Minutolo families.

Main sights

  • The Hypogeums Lagrasta are the most remarkable set of apogees in Canosa and in the whole region. It dates back to the 6th-1st century BC and is divided into three hypogeums.
  • The Italic Temple consecrated to the goddess Minerva-Athena Ilias. The heathen temple was destroyed in the 6th century AD in order to set up a christian basilica.
  • Arch of Trajan, dating back to 109 BC, it was ordered by the Emperor Trajan.
  • The Cathedral, which dates back to the 6th century AD. At the end of the 9th century it was consecrated to Saint John and Saint Paul, and on 1 August 800 St. Sabine’s holy relics was transferred here.
  • The Mausoleum of Bohemund of Hauteville (1111), a noteworthy example (the only in the West) of either Islamic or Syrian inspiration.
  • The Baptistery (514-566).
  • Roman Bridge over the Ofanto river (1st century AD), which allowed the Via Traiana to cross the river. It was used for road traffic until the 1970s.
  • Arch of Terentius Varro, dedicated to the Roman consul who fought at Cannae.
  • The Acropolis (Castle), with its characteristic narrow alleys and staircases. At the summit are the ruins of the Norman castle, built over a pre-existing Roman bastion and later possession of the Hohenstaufen and the Grimaldi.
  • Casieri Tower.
  • Hypogeum of the Cerberus (4th-3rd century BC).
  • Hypogeum of the Hoplite (4th century BC).
  • Hypogeum Monterisi - Rossignoli (4th century BC).
  • Mausoleum Bagnoli (2nd century AD).
  • Temple of Jupiter Taurus (1st century BC - 1st century AD).
  • Thermae Lomuscio (1st century BC).
  • The Civic Museum contains archaeological and historic finds of rare values (approximately 2,000 artefacts).
  • Palazzo Sinesi contains 400 findings dating back to 4th-3rd centuries BC.
  • Palazzo Iliceto' is a puppet museum (19th-20th centuries).
  • The excavations of Saint Peter are the most important archaeological training camp in Italy.

External links

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