Ceglie Messapica is set on a hill and is undoubtedly one of the oldest cities in the whole Apulia:
when, about 700 years before Christ, the Greeks came to these lands, the Apulian town took the name of Kailia.
It was defended by four walled enclosures supporting the “Specchie”, that are megalithic blocks over 20 meters tall and with a diameter of up to 60 meters;
The perimeter of the wall was 5 kilometers.
Beyond the walls, where today is the church of San Rocco, there were two temples dedicated respectively to Apollo and Venus.
With the Messapi, Ceglie became a very rich, prosperous and well-defended city and it was chosen as military capital.
There are many archaeological remains left by the Messapi passage: the defensive system first of all, attesting to the militaristic vocation of messapic civilization;
The necropolis and innumerable inscriptions, coins and vases.
These items are now preserved in part in the local Archaeological Museum of Ceglie, but also in the museums of Taranto, Brindisi, Lecce and Egnazia and, above all, in private and public collections.
The Old Town
The historic center of the city is very charming and characteristic, formed by squares and narrow streets of singular beauty, among which you can delight in pleasant walks, perhaps during the morning.
To be admired, above all, Piazza Vecchia, a place where a large market was held in the past and where the prison, the bodyguard and numerous other offices were located.
Overlooking the Old Square you will find Palazzo Allegretti, a structure dating back to the 18th century which will surprise you especially for its two large portals, on which you will notice the coats of arms of the Allegretti and Cenci.
The lateral areas of the palace are currently privately owned and on the ground floor of the property you will find the municipal library and the art gallery “Emilio Notte”.
Church of San Rocco
The Church of San Rocco has an ancient history, whose first dates date back to 1595.
The structure was built on a very high point on a hill, on which there was a Chapel dedicated to the Saint of Montpellier.
You will certainly stand in front of the different architectural features of the façade and you will not be disappointed by its impressive interior, consisting of three naves.
Among the other architectures of Ceglie Messapica stands the Ducal Castle (Castello Ducale) , which you can access through a large portal.
It was built around the eleventh century and from the original structure remains the imposing Norman tower on the left side.
Inside the hall you can admire the many coats of arms of the various noble families who have dedicated the centuries to the feudal life, leaving you fascinated by the many historical and artistic elements such as the inscriptions, the staircase and the 16th century portal.
References: via Chiesa 11 72013 Ceglie Messapica
Phone: (+39) 0831371003
Visit should be free, but please check on site
Walk in the historic center and take a picture in the Monterrone Belvedere
The old town lies in the final part of one of the 2 hills on which the city has developed.
Nowadays the urban fabric is surmounted by the Ducal Castle and the “Collegiata”, around them, following the morphological lines of the hill, almost a circular shape develops, a dense network of narrow and winding lanes, streets and staircases (almost all paved with local stones so-called “Chianche“), interrupted by open spaces (the largest: Largo Ognissanti, Largo Celso and Piazza Vecchia) and some underpass.
The Monterrone lookout tower, adjacent to Via Muri, is an embankment located on the outside of the medieval gate with the same name: for its features it is a great view from which it is possible to observe the panorama of the Itria Valley and the centers of Carovigno, Cisternino, Locorotondo and Ostuni.
During 2012, the street and the belvedere were the subject of a redevelopment project with the aim of creating a new pedestrian area, which led to replanting with stone basins of the entire area
Caves of Montevicoli
The caves of Montevicoli are a natural cavity system located in the homonymous homestead, about 1.5 km from Ceglie Messapica, and discovered in the early sixties during the resettlement of a dry stone wall.