THE HYSTORICAL CENTRE
The Historical centre has been built by the will of the noble norman the Earl Ruggiero d’Altavilla the Great in the XI century exploiting, for defensive purposes, a part of the fortification walls of the Messapic time. Manduria rose again with the name of Casalnuovo maintained until the 1789. Typical are the alleys that unravel in the centre of the city, flanked and confined by the characteristic houses “a terragne”. The life of the Medieval town revolved around the public square( the present “Commestibili” square), the “Chiesa Madre” and the Castle (where today “Imperiali”Palace is situated). The historical centre still keeps some remains of the Jewish Ghetto or Giudecca with the presence of the supposed synagogue of the ‘500 and it allows us to track down a part of an important and often forgotten history of our region.
MESSAPIC ARCHAELOGICAL PARK
The Archaeological park area of the Messapic walls consists mainly of the findings of the defensive walls of the ancient town and 1200 tombs excavated in the rock that allows us to understand the extraordinary greatness of the Messapic people of Manduria. But some others wonderful sites are preserved in the archaeological park such us the Fonte Pliniano and the Chapel of San Pietro Mandurino. The Fonte Pliniano is named after Pliny the Elder who was so fascinated by it that he described it in his work “Naturalis Historia”. The legend says about the presence in this place of a sacred animal the “Cerva Regia” put as a guardian of a treasure hidden by the Messapic and never found. The Spring of water can be seen inside a cave with a diameter 18 metres wide where it is possible to enter by a staircase; to make the place even more charming contributes a big skylight on the top of the vault. The Knowledge of the nicest and most attractive places of the town of Manduria reaches its peak with the hypogeal chapel of San Pietro Mandurino which the tradition says has been excavated by the Basilian monks.
The “Chiesa Madre” of Manduria dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is located on the area of an early and smaller Romanic church. The church - that it is possible to admire today- is the result of the works carried out in the XVI century. With a further extension in the XVIII century. The façade stands out for the precious Renaissance portal richly decorated and surmounted by a large rose window decorated by puttos supporting scrolls and by vinestalks and bunches of grapes patterns. The interior of the church presents three naves (which became 5 in the XVIII century) on the Latin-cross floor-plan and side chapels dedicated to the patron saint of the town, Saint Gregory the Great and to the Holy Trinity. The Majesty of the church is emphasized from the staircase that leads to the Presbytery with the Apse adorned by 18 golden statues.
REGIONAL NATURAL RESERVE
The reserves are an oasis of wonderful and uncontaminated naturalistic beauty, they include five areas ( mouth of the Chidro river, the salina, and the sand dunes of Torre Columena, the Earl Marsh and the coastal dunes , the Cuturi Wood, the Rosa Marina Wood) for an extension of 1081,34 hectares. Each of these areas is characterized by distinctive environmental characteristics, unique both from the structural point of view and the naturalistic one. The Salina still keeps the ruins of the old plants ( the tower of the salina with the adjoined sixteenth century church) to bear witness to the glorious past. Among the faunal species exceptionally attractive there are the black – winged stilts and the pink flamingos.
The Colimena Tower is one among the many coastal towers built along the gulf of Taranto by order of the Royal Court of Naples in 1563, to defense of the populated areas, to prevent the spread of the invaders. Of this tower are particularly manifest the elements of defence such as the machicolations, the corbels, the two slits for arquebusiers, whereas to the sides there are two slits for falconets. Under the string-course, a series of ornamental mouldings to articulate space. The interior of the tower is reachable by a staircase, placed to the northern wall and supported by three arches. Originally the access must have been possible through a drawbridge. Everything of Colimena Tower extols its glorious past.