The Castle

The vessel that swims in the air The castle of Oria, built from 1221 by order of Frederick II, has the shape of an isosceles triangle with base in the south and the vertex in the north. Three towers rise in the southern wall: the “square” tower also known as “of the male” or “of the beak “, the tower “of the knight “, raised probably with the function of revenge and protection at the entrance, and the” tower of the jump” built for necessity of control on the eastern side. At the vertex stands the tower “of the spur”, similar to the bow of a ship, hence the nickname “the vessel that swims in the air”. The gigantic stone jewel for Yolanda of Jerusalem The old manor – also known as the “giant stone jewel” – was designed by Frederick perhaps when he dwelt in the city to await the bride Yolanda of Jerusalem. The area on which it stands, previously occupied by a Norman tower block and the Theodosian cathedral , was requisitioned by the emperor who in return granted to Bishop Peregrino I the Hill of Vaglio and the tithes for the construction of the new temple. Castrum Horye reparari debet In 1241 the statute about the castle restoration, drafted by the provisores castrorum, prescribed that the castle of Oria ” reparari debet ” (needs restoration), not “reparari potest” (can be restored), showing how important it was thought to be; the cost for the restoration, however, were to be provided by local citizens.   Nine centuries of illustrious guests   Cornerstone of the Salentinian fortifications, in its nine centuries of life it was resting place for kings, princes and knights crusaders, dwelling for barons and marquises., Among others, stayed there Maria d’Enghien and Ladislas, King of Naples; Isabella di Chiaromonte, Ferrante of Aragon and Alfonso of Aragon; in more recent times, the Royals of Italy have passed by, some Princes of the House of Savoy and Princess Margareth of England. It had distinguished visitors like the Emperor of Germany, Wilhelm II, the Mommsen, Gregorovious, the Bourget and Cardinal Tiserant.   Five thousand soldiers in the square of the arms   In its inside, a large courtyard 3900 square feet wide, called “square of the arms “, could hold up to 5,000 soldiers. On its west side are lined up the accomodations for the Lord and for the Castellan, the storehouse for food, the barracks for soldiers. Taking the staircase that wraps around the Tower of the Knight, you get inside of the visible wing. The entrance hall with a groin vault houses a precious collection of Greco-Roman and Messapic antiquities, all locally sourced. Through it you access the inside of the Great Tower whose architecture, apart from the lithic grating of the windows, is entirely attributable to the 13th century. At the foot of the ” tower of the jump” is the ancient crypt of Saints Crisante and Daria, first protectors of the city. There are the ruins of the hypogean church built around the middle of the ‘800 by Bishop Theodosius.   Damage and restoration   Little remains today of the Norman plan and of the Frederician construction: over the centuries, the castle has undergone several damages and restorations. The first damage is attributable to Manfred who in 1254 opposed to the anti-Swabian league captained by Tommaso d’Oria, while in 1433 it was General Caldora who put the city on fire, including the castle. Seven years later, however, Prince Giovanni Orsini restored it on the occasion of his niece’s wedding Isabella of Chiaromonte with Ferdinand of Aragon. In 1504 General Pietro de Pace, pawn in the clashbetween the French and the Spaniards, attacked it with its 12,500 soldiers and 20 artillery pieces.   Noble and religious owners   In the following centuries it passed from the Borromeos to the tax office, before being purchased in 1825 by the Abbess of the Benedictine nuns. In 1866, following the abolition of the religious orders, it went to the municipality that in 1933 ceded it to the Martini-Carissimo family, current owner of the Castle.   Sources: “La via dei canti” by Angelo Lucano Larotonda


The History

e History

From Hyria to Orea Oria has ancient and glorious traditions. According to the indications handed down by Herodotus of Halicarnassus and Strabo, a Cretan group from Minos was tossed from a storm onto the Ionian coasts, founding inland Hyrìa around 1200 BC. Several are the theories about the origin of the name. Certainly, over the years it has undergone several changes: Hyrìa, Orra, Ouria, Uria, Iria, Varia, Ureto, Oira and Orea. The Swabian banner The town was later municipality of Rome and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire it was subject to the Greeks, Lombards, Byzantines, often becoming the scene of sieges and plundering, and then it was a Norman land. The Swabian banner of Henry IV was hoisted over the city in 1191 and saw the Oritani exultant, hopeful for a better future. Frederick II, once succeeded his father, declared it state city and built the impressive Norman castle on pre-existing Norman fortifications. The solace of the Tournament In 1225 the Emperor issued a call to “amuse” inhabitants of the “fedelissima cittade di Orea” (the very faithful city of Orea, ndt.), while waiting to wed the betrothed Isabella of Brienne, that took place in November of the same year in the Cathedral of Brindisi. The solace called by the Swabian was the Tournament, a real challenge among the four wards of the City – Castello, Judea, Lama and Santo Basilio – with athletes and horsemen who engaged in extreme competitions to win the coveted Palio. The anti-Swabian League of the troublemaker Tommaso After the death of Frederick, the Guelph side of the town took over and turned against the Swabians. It was the 1254 when Brindisi, Lecce, Mesagne and Oria formed an anti-Swabian coalition under the leadership of Tommaso, a native of Oria. Manfredi, son of Frederick, reacted militarily and heavily: Brindisi was retaken, Lecce surrendered, Mesagne was destroyed while Oria was besieged but resisted for a long time. In the end Manfredi won: he spared the town but did not forgive the inhabitants, including that troublemaker Tommaso who paid with his life for his gesture. In the footsteps of Frederick, writers, artists and intellectuals When the Swabian story ended with the ill-fated death of Corradino, Oria passed under Angevin rule and it was again included in the Principality of Taranto, remaining there until 1493. In 1572, St. Charles Borromeo sold his fiefdom to the Bishop of Cassano for forty thousand ducats, which he gave away to charity. Becoming first one of many outlying towns of the Kingdom of Naples, and later included in the Kingdom of Italy, Oria continued to be a favourite of writers, artists and intellectuals, who, in a romantic rediscovery of the middle ages, visited it looking for relics and an atmosphere that might stimulate their imagination. Sources:


Accommodation & Restaurants

ACCOMMODATION BORGO di ORIA – RESORT Indirizzo: L’appartamento è situato nel centro storico di Oria Recapiti: Tel 329 2307506 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Sito Web: Descrizione: Ospitalità in antiche dimore ai piedi del castello Svevo di Oria CENTRO EDUCATIVO ROGAZIONISTI Indirizzo: Via Annibale Maria di Francia, 32 Recapiti: Tel 0831-848106 – Fax 0831-845499 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Sito Web: Descrizione: Camere: 10, letti: 50, accessibilità disabili. Il centro, che sorge in periferia, è stato di recente ristrutturato per offrire un servizio adeguato. VILLAGGIO TURISTICO ORCHIDEA Indirizzo: Via per Manduria, 4 Recapiti: Tel e Fax 099-9795341 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Sito Web: Descrizione: A 4 Km. dal centro; camere 17, letti 100; accessibilità disabili. L’intera struttura comprende un’ampia sala ristorante molto accogliente e diciassette mini-appartamenti confortevoli in un ambiente ricco di verde; inoltre il villaggio offre al suo interno una vasta gamma di servizi ricreativi e sportivi. SEMINARIO VESCOVILE Indirizzo: Contrada S. Cosimo alla Macchia Km. 5 Descrizione:A 5 Km. dal centro; camere 20, letti 60; accessibilità disabili. Il seminario è una costruzione abbastanza recente nei pressi del Santuario, con ampi spazi all’aperto e offre servizi di ricettività per gruppi organizzati di turisti soprattutto nel periodo estivo in quanto per il resto dell’anno è occupato dai seminaristi. BED AND BREAKFAST DAI BROTHER’S RISTORANTE PIZZERIA Indirizzo:Via Torre Santa Susanna, Km. 2 Recapiti: Tel 339 – 2620758 Descrizione:A 2 Km. dal centro; accessibilità disabili; la struttura è stata realizzata da circa cinque anni e si presenta in ottime condizioni, offre servizi di ristorazione e ricezione e ampi spazi ricreativi. RITIRO M. IMMACOLATA Indirizzo:Piazza San Domenico Recapiti:Tel e Fax 0831-845364 RESIDENCE ANGELICA R A Indirizzo:Via Pascoli 14/b Recapiti:Tel e Fax 0831 849816 – 329 7940487 Descrizione: Ubicato alle spalle del Municipio ed a pochi passi dal centro storico, il Residence Angelica è un palazzo di recente costruzione dallo stile sobrio ed accogliente realizzato per dare il massimo comfort al turista che si ferma a visitare l’antichissima città di Oria RESTAURANTS Ristorante Vecchia Oria Vico Rotto Milizia, 3 – Tel. 0831/845880 Ristorante Pizzeria da Saverio – Tel. 0831/847362 Via Torre, 217 Ristorante La Torretta C/da San Cosimo alla Macchia – Tel. 0831/896960 Pub Medieval Inn Via Francavilla Fontana – Tel. 0831/840359 Ristorante Orchidea Via per Manduria Pizzeria: Dai “Brother’s” Via per Torre Santa Susanna, Km. 2 Oria (BR) Tel. 0831/848083 – 338/4943445 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Bar ristorante pizzeria Fuori Porta Piazza Lorch, 35 – Tel. 831/847171 Taverna della loggia Via Milizia, 103 Oria (BR) – Tel .0831/840353 Trattoria Luce Piazza Manfredi Ristorante Miledand Via per Torre, Km. 2 Ristorante Pizzeria Bo Kaos Via D.Bonifacio Ristorante Pizzeria Nirvana Via Torre, 155 Ristorante Pizzeria Parco Laurito C/da Laurito – Tel. 0831/847273 Paninoteca pizzeria Bomber Via Torre, 18 Trattoria dei cavalieri Via Castiglione, 3 Oria (BR) – Tel. 0831/845053 Paninoteca Akropolis Via Dragonetti Bonifacio Moldy’s Pizze Piazza Manfredi, 27 Paninoteca Il Maniero Via Francesco Milizia Pizzeria La Corona del Re Via M. Pagano – Tel. 0831/840104 Pizzeria Tre Archi C.da S. Cosimo alla Macchia – Tel. 0831/846974 Guaranà Via Latiano, 52 Pizzeria De Virgilis Cinzia Via Palermo n.2 Orient Express Piazzale Stazione Ferroviaria Ristorante pizzeria Italia 2000 Viale Magna Grecia -Tel. 0831/840213 Pizzeria Max Min Pizza Via Latiano