Monopoli between churches, beaches and legends.

Apulia, history, culture, holidays

On the tree-lined road that leads from Castellana Grotte in Monopoli, one can see among the olive trees and the sea the bell tower of Monopoli. Port city on the Adriatic, inhabited always, are the remains of Paleolithic civilization. Has undergone many dominations, but its inhabitants, proud people and hardworking, have always relied on, as when they decided to build the barracks because the spanish did not want them in their homes longer.
Monopoli the city of many monasteries and churches in spectacular Baroque Leccese and Napoletano, but also of the many rock churches. I decide to take a ride in the old town on foot from the large square, known here as the village entrance on the left the Church of St. Francis of Assisi from the bell tower in the Second World War the siren gave the alarm of the bombing. The adjoining convent is now the Town Hall. Keep walking and finish the Cathedral of Our Lady of Madia.
The cathedral built on the remains of two other churches, the first Christian. Later, during the eleventh century, the population increased and it was decided to build a larger church. The work, however, lasted many years because you could not find the wood for the roof. How it ended?
......... Legend has it that on the night of 15 and 16 December 1117 Our Lady came in a dream to the sacristan of the cathedral, Mercury, warning that the beams, much coveted by Bishop Romualdo, for the construction of the roof of the Basilica, were to port.
Mercury then went by the Bishop twice but was not believed, indeed the prelate drove him badly believing drunk. Mercury went home and dreamed again Our Lady, but this time before going to wake the Bishop Romualdo, went to the port where he found the raft with Our Lady. Immediately ran from the bishop as the bells began to sound moves from the angels. Romualdo found the miraculous landing, dressed in pontifical robes went to the port with the people, awakened by the sound of bells.
Also according to tradition, the Icon of Mary, suspended on the raft of thirty-beams, do not let him take the first two attempts of Bishop Romualdo, to punish him for his lack of faith.
Only after the third time the raft went out to sea and then stares, Bishop Romualdo managed to take the icon to bring it in procession to the church, followed by all the inhabitants of Monopoly and since then is on the central altar of cathedral.
A copy is carried in procession and another is placed on the bell tower.
The port that welcomed the raft with the picture is now an integral part of the old town; sandblasted by the Normans, at the time of their domination.
It's been 899 years since that night of the landing of the Our Lady, but still the morning of December 16, everyone, absolutely everyone: fishermen, professionals, doctors, elderly, children, women and men, all have their own port, rain or snow, there is the mistral or calm, they are all there waiting for the Madonna that comes from the sea.
Their faith in her is unshakable, in every house there is his image, it is said that under the 100 and passes bombs dropped on Monopoly in World War II, there was no dead monopolitano. Under bombardment died only a person .... But it was "a stranger."
This festival is repeated 15 August for all Monopoli emigrants who came back for the holidays.
Monopoli the city of Castle of Charles V of the rock churches, beaches with fine sand and coves, the Castle of Saint Stephen, but that's another story and tell you later.

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