The History

Between the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea Halfway between the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea, its strategic location has given to it, since the prehistoric age, a growing development and role, making it a point of confluence and economic, commercial and cultural exchange. Different peoples have inhabited almost continuously, from the Neolithic period, its territory, leaving significant traces of their passage and arriving in the Byzantine period to an accomplished urban form in the present city site. Jewels spread around the Hill Its name derives perhaps from Joha, short for a Byzantine family surname present in these places in the medieval age. But there are many opinions on the origin of the name, including the legend that sees as protagonist the Princess Bianca Lancia who, before being locked up by Frederick who had suspected her of infidelity, lost all her jewels in the castle and never found them again: Gioia del Colle would indicate the jewels of the woman spread around the hill. After the earthquake, the Normans Gioia hamlet, arisen between the late ninth century and the beginning of the 10th century AD, grew considerably during the Norman domination, who substituted the Byzantines towards the end of the 11th century. The first feudal Lord of Gioia was the Norman count Riccardo Siniscalco, who rebuilt much of the village after the violent earthquake of 1088, which devastated the entire Apulia. The Swabians on the Apulian hill Destroyed by William I of Sicily said “il Malo”, Gioia del Colle joined the Swabian orbit under the Emperor Henry VI, father of Frederick II, when in 1194 he came from Germany to regain the kingdom threatenedby papal troops. In the Church, against the Angevins Under the Angevins, Gioia’s population, and in general that of Apulia, already financially broke due to the ongoing wars in the Swabian period, were subject to a considerable number of taxes, collections, tithes, levies and bribes. There were many who preferred to rely on the Church to enjoy the exemption from many and heavy taxes. This gimmick also allowed, in some cases, not to pay military service and placed away from being persecuted by secular courts. It was the Principality of Taranto and the fief of the Princes De Mari of Acquaviva delle Fonti until the abolition of feudality.   Sources: