The village of the Bronze Age
The medieval town of Cisternino is located in Puglia in the province of Brindisi, overlooking the Valle d’Istria, better known as the Murgia, with a population of just over ten thousand inhabitants which even five hundred residents in the village.
The origins of the village date back to the Bronze Age with the discovery of the remains of huts and villages as well as the discovery of metal tools. The Cisturninum was mentioned for the first time by Pope Alexander III in a papal official written of 26/02/1180 which conferred it to the Bishop of Monopoli. In 1330, the Bishop sold it to the local nobility which belonged it for over a century to the civil barons, handing over to the Church in 1463 by Ferdinand I of Aragon. The Republic of Venice captured it in 1495 and held it until 1528 as it was passed from hand to the Spanish. In 1647, there was a partial revolt of the people who did not have success against the bishop for mismanagement. In 1738, with the beginning of the Kingdom of the Bourbons, there was some new commotion. In 1799, the population adheres to the Neapolitan Republic against King Nicola Semeraro.
The visit of the borough grows between winding alleys overlooking houses painted with white lime with external stairs of stone, underpasses, flowered balconies and arches that brighten the evening walks under a starry sky where you only hear the echoes of your own footsteps on the typical rolling stone floor of the medieval villages known as “chianche”.
The Norman-Swabian tower with a small statue on the top of St. Nicholas was built by the Normans in the eleventh century and was the main entrance of the city. The Church of St. Nicholas, with neoclassical façade, was built in the fourteenth century on the ruins of the antecedent of the eighth century Basilian Church which, unfortunately, only the foundations remain today. Inside, there are sculptural decorations dating back to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as well as two stone sculptures of “Stephanus Abulie Poteniani” Stefano da Putignano about the tabernacle dedicated to the Madonna of Cardellino of 1517. A primitive Church of the year 1000, was discovered at the bottom of the nearby Church of the Purgatory of the seventeenth century.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Hibernia (Madonna de Bernis) in 1100 with remains of a former Basilian monastery dedicated to the fertility goddess Cybele. On Easter Monday, on the occasion of the procession, a sweet “chïrrùchele” is brought as a gift to the Goddess by the boys of the village who offer it to propitiate fertility. The surrounding land is rich in Roman and medieval remains.
Other buildings of historical interest situated in the center as the Bishop’s Palace in 1560 with the late Renaissance façade highlighted with the coats of arms of the bishop-Baron, the Governor’s Palace of the XVI century with three balconies and decorations belonging to the Renaissance, the Palaces of Pepe and Cenci families, the Church of Saint Lucia of the twelfth century, Amati Palace, Palace Lagravinese, Devitofranceschi Palace, the Tower Capece, the baroque Church of San Cataldo in 1783 and the Church of San Quirico built between the XVII and XVIII century.
In the countryside of Cisternino there are several farms as a true representation of the lodging of time as Masseria Montereale, Villa Cenci, Devitofranceschi, Masseria Costa and Masseria Montanaro.
In Cisternino there is no shortage of popular events such as the commemoration of San Quirico and Juliet as the Patron Saint of Cisternino, where the whole country is adorned in festive decorations and rejoices with parades, band concerts and firework that take place in the first week of August, or the editions of Festival Stones sing (Festival Pietre che Cantano) or festivals such as that of the orecchiette and the one of rabbit in August and grapes in September.
Artisans and products DOC in Cisternino
The area is full of skilled artisans whom, with their skilled hands, are able to produce beautiful objects in wood, stone, beads, and baskets as well as the local cuisine is able to reproduce typical dishes such as friselle, cheese, ricotta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, wines Doc, capocollo sausage and pasta dishes like the typical orecchiette with sauce and pecorino cheese or with turnip greens and salted anchovies.