Apulia is one of the richest of pre-historical artefacts regions of Italy. Among the many finds, the most valuable are the dolmens, located quite close to Masseria Corte degli Asini, and the menhirs, most common around the land of Bari. The end of the second millennium BC saw the bloodlines of Daunii, Peucetii and Messapii consolidated. Like for the most part of southern Italy, the most evolved kinds of government and settlement came from the Greek colonization of the Magna Graecia, which achieved its peak around the IV century BC, when the Roman army appeared.
Apulia was conquered completely by the Romans after several wars, which were marked by epic episodes, such as the storming of Taranto (272 BC), and the conquering of Bari (244 AD).
During the centuries of maximum expansion of the Empire, Apulia achieved a consistent wellness, taking up leading roles in the production of wheat and olive oil, becoming a via for the exchanges between Rome and the East. When the Western Roman Empire fell, Byzantines, Lombards, and Arabs occupied Apulia’s territory, before Bisanzium managed to draw the region into its sphere of influence once and for all (IX-XI centuries).
Bari became the chief town of a domain that reached the Lucania, ruled by a catapan (Byzantine governor).
During that period, the oriental culture and religion took root, and left into the local religious habits, cult, and architectures their traces, which are still recognizable in the Masserie.
First under the Normans, then under the Suebi, Apulia reached a significant advancement, both material and civil, which reached its peak with Federico II, who was behind the realization of several lay and religious buildings, some of which of high artistic value.
Between 1264 and 1435, Apulia has been under the Anjou rule, included into the Kingdom of Naples, to which took over the Spanish: during these phases a diffused power pierced into the territory, and into the social bounds; this power, which took deep roots, was the power of barons, landlords, with estates and almost unlimited court prerogatives, which made them become some sort of absolute lords.
With the arrival of the House of Bourbon, the Spanish dynasty that had been ruling the Kingdom of Naples since 1738, the territory was given a first attempt of statehood, and new entrepreneurial chances occurred.
During the French domination (1806-1815), under the Murat, Apulia’s modernization was encouraged by the abolition of the feudal system, and by some judiciary reforms, which were left on even once the House of Bourbon regained control over the territory (1815).
Today, Apulia is well known, especially from a touristic point of view, exactly for its priceless historical and artistic value, which can be detected in the strong care for traditions that people have, and at the many festivals and pageants spread over the whole territory during the year.