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Ceglie Messapica


Ceglie Messapica rises 302 m above sea level on one of the last outposts of the Southern Murgia. Even though the city is located between Alto Salento and the Valle d'Itria and is equally distant from the city of Brindisi and the city of Taranto, it is registered to the province of Brindisi.
The local economy, mainly based on the cultivation of olive trees and vines, proposes also a series of specialized manufacturing activities.
Ceglie was the military capital of the Messapi ( an ancient Italic population), whilst the civilians lived in the proximity of the nearby settlement of Oria.

Kaila, this is the centre's old name, was built on top of a hill, that allowed its inhabitants to survey over the Magna Graecia city of Taranto, their old enemy, that at the time aspired to conquer the whole Messapia area to strengthen their access to the Adriatic.
Studious have identified four boundary walls with a strong defensive concentration. The smallest, which is also the oldest, has a perimeter of five miles and could contain not less than 40 000 people. This is a defensive wall made of piled megalithic blocks (mirror), built between rocks with spurs.
There are also two other levels, very close one to another, and finally a fourth line of wall that is about four kilometres from the centre. These defensive works, carried out at different times, go back to a period dated between V and IV century BC
The Messapi traces are not limited the mirrors, the fortresses and fortified walls, as tombs, coins, vases and various other types of objects have been found here. Most of them are now preserved in the museums of Taranto and Brindisi, whilst only a small part are on exhibition in the local Archaeological Museum.
During the Middle Ages, Ceglie was reduced to a simple village even though the Normans built here a fortress around all 'year 1000.

Near the Norman tower, that submitted several refurbishments, was erected the Palazzo Ducale, which is still very impressive.

Of interest is the Collegiate Church, entitled to the Virgin. A construction started in 1521 and that in 1786 was being restructured according to the style of Baroque period.


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