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: