In the South Italy, at 40 Km from Brindisi 

History of  Ceglie Messapica

A fable of 4000 years


Pnoramica di Ceglie MessapicaCeglie Messapica, one of the most ancient centres in Puglia, marks the hilly border of the Murge highlands to the South-East, opening its natural terrace to the Salento and the surrounding Brindisi plain. Three hundreed metres above sea-level, Ceglie Messapica is inhabited by little more than 21.000 inhabitans, described stubborn but very hospitable by the Ottocento century travellers,who,therefore, appreciated its nature and its not always proper plain-speakimg. Its dialet is from Japigio group of languages, hard, apocapated, sing-song, with its open and extensible vowels; nothing in common with ritmato, mieloso leccese fom a certain Hellenic origin. Probably the genesis of the Cegliese phoneme, yet with the mixture of the centuries, is to be found in the nearest Balkanic countries ("A-cci simin’ akkogghj’ ", He thet sows, mows).

Reperti messapiciThe history of Ceglie Messapica goes back to at least 15 centuries before Christ, its origin is surely preHellenic, but traces and new finds, under consideration to-day, might date back to 4.000 years ago. At present Pelasgi and Cretesi are rivals for the birth certificate of the city; they made ancient Kailia to be an important military and commercial centre of the Messapi, the people who settled between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Afterward the history of Ceglie absorbs the Latin and Roman rule, the decadance of the august Empire and the coming of the Communes. After the Midde Age period that deeply marked the culture and behaviors of Meridione (South Italy), Renaissance reveals here, too, with its renewed political system protecting aristocracy of the time and encouraging arts and cultural exchanges: between 16th and 18th century il Castello ducale, la Chiesa Collegiata, the marvellous baroque-style curch of San Domenico with the attached monastery, at present Town Hall, are completed.

Chiesa di San DomenicoSince the Ottocento century Ceglie has extended step by step the limits of the town and just the excavation for the foundation of new buildings allowed priceless archeological remains to come out, being kept in the museum of Taranto, in the one of Berlino, and in private collections of Italian and foreigners researchers. Unfortunately a lot of remains, the only evidence of the past, are lost.

At present, the city is pursuing a new social and economic identity. The post-industrial era with its diminishing production of chemical pole of Brindisi and its iron pole of Taranto is imposing new schemes of employment; still among great difficulties, typical in the South, the services sector aim Veduta di Ceglie Messapicaat the capacity of aggregation, wich soon could change into small industry, textile workshops thrive, meanwhile agriculture, expecially the olive-one, remains one of the main source of income, sometimes integrative.

Tourism is a phenomenon awaiting development, fed mostly, by single private enterprise: some masserie (farmhouses) and trulli (cone-shaped buildings) in the Cegliese Gastronomia localecountryside have been restored and included in the farm holiday-makers tours, acting a strong pull in Germany, Great Britain and North Italy. Cookery indeed is flourishing; the city and the country-side is full of restaurant, known and appreciated even outside the borders of Regione Puglia: so that the ancient chief-town of Messapi for several years has become the capital of cookery of the "people who lived between the two seas".



Anthology of Ceglie Messapica