Ginosa, a town of shrewd condottieri and pensive olive trees
The town of Ginosa, in the province of Taranto, Apulia, is surrounded by sea and ravines, plains and hills, vineyards and olive groves: a wonderful compendium of everything you can find in the typical scenery of this region.
Once the fortress of Robert Guiscard de Hauteville – a Norman condottiero also known as “The Cunning”, Duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily in the 11th century –, Ginosa faces the Ionian Sea at the border with Basilicata, and is located on a hill embraced by a number of grottoes and sixteen rupestrian churches, some of which decorated with frescoes from the Byzantine age.
The area was abandoned during the Middle Ages, when people moved to the hill and ended the rupestrian civilization.
It was Robert Guiscard – whom Dante places in Paradise in his “Divine Comedy”, more precisely in the fifth sphere of heaven with other holy warriors – who ordered the construction of the Norman Castle; having shed the typical architectural features of a Medieval fortress, the building now looks more like a mighty palace overlooking the town.
Somewhere, in the countryside around Ginosa, lives an ancient tree known as “the thinking olive”: nobody knows for sure who may have planted it, but its centuries-old trunk looks strikingly like the face of an old wise man absorbed in his own thoughts. See for yourself in one of the photographs in our gallery..