Bitonto, Province of Bari, Puglia, Italy
The modern town is located on the site of an ancient Messapian center, not far from the Adriatic Sea, about 15 km from the province capital Bari, 8 km away from the international Karol Wojtyla Airport.
It is all surrounded by a never-ending plantation of olive trees, a unique view in Italy, and is well-known today for its production of olive oil, which is considered among the best-quality olive oil in the world.
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Altitude: 116 m a.s.l -- Population: about 55,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 70032 -- Phone Area Code: 080 -- Patron Saint: Madonna dell'Immacolata Concezione celebrated on 26 May -- Frazioni & Località: Palombaio, Mariotto, Masseria Cervelli
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The origins of this very ancient town are lost in the mist of time. According to one tradition the name derives from its mythical founder Botone, an Illyric king. Another etymology considers Bitonto as a transformation of the Latin words "bonum totum", and still another theory tells the story of group of Greek refugees coming from the island of Crete after a ruinous earthquake in 1450 BC. In Roman times it was a municipium, and in the Middle Ages was a fiefdom of a number of different families, such as the Caldora, Ventimiglia, Acquaviva and Cordova, until in 1552 the inhabitants redeemed their freedom from the feudal yoke paying the enormous sum of 66,000 ducati. On 26 May 1734 the spaniards of Charles III Bourbon defeated here the Austrians, obtaining the Kingdom of Naples.