Altamura stands in Bari province inlands, very close to Basilicata. Fossil finds, some of which were veritably extraordinary like Altamura man, witness the presence of human settlements in this area 400,000 years before Christ. In 500 b.C. the megalithic walls after which the city was named (Altamura means ’High Walls’) were built. The town was subject to a long period of different dominations concluded by the arrival of Frederick II (1232), who gave a fresh impetus to the city by building a Cathedral and repopulating it with Arab, Greek and Jewish populations. In that period, the city was given its characteristic layout made of “claustri”, small squares surrounded by alleys. Subsequently, Altamura underwent several dominions among which the Orsini family, who built mansions and convents. In 1531, Altamura inhabitants undertake to pay 20,000 ducats to set their own city free. This act and a brave behavior earned Altamura the name of “Italian Lioness”. The city experienced a particularly positive period between 1500 and 1700. In 1748, the establishment of a University contributed to spread the equality and freedom ideals promoted by French Revolution. Due to this new rebellion, the city was besieged and sacked by the Vatican army in 1799. During the following years, Altamura hosted the Corte of Appeal of Bari territory and the see of Apulian provisional government.
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