Bisceglie, Province of Barletta Andria Trani, Puglia, Italy
What to see
In the 11th century AD Norman count Peter I fortified the town and built a tall sighting tower, the Torre Maestra, to defend from Saracens raids the population of the 9 villages of Lombard stock in the countryside (Cirignano, Giano, Pacciano, Sagina, San Nicola, Salandro, Santo Stefano, Sant'Andrea, Zappino). In 1059 Bisceglie also had its own bishop. In later centuries the town became a flourishing fishing and trading maritime port. With the Anjou conquest, it became a fiefdom of the Del Balzo family. In the late 15th century powerful walls, able to stand cannon fire, were built, and in 1499 the town was assigned as dowry of Lucrezia Borgia to Alfonso d'Aragona, who was murdered and left one son, Rodrigo, who also died young with no heirs, so Bisceglie returned under direct royal power and throughout the 16th century acquired a remarkable autonomy.