|Comune di Bovino|
Romanic castle of Bovino with Norman Tower
|Frazioni||Ponte Bovino, Radogna|
|• Mayor||Michele Dedda (Tutti per Bovino)|
|• Total||84 km2 (32 sq mi)|
|Elevation||647 m (2,123 ft)|
|• Density||48/km2 (120/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Maria SS. of Valleverde|
|Saint day||August 29|
Bovino is currently a member of the society "Italy's Most Beautiful Villages". On April 5, it was voted Italy's fifth prettiest village, during the national TV contest "Il Borgo dei Borghi".
Bovino has more than two thousand years of history, and in 323 BC, participated in the Samnite wars, fighting against the Romans. The Romans then rebuild Bovino and call it "Vibinum". In 663, after being conquered by Lombards, Bovino was destroyed during the war with the Byzantines. In 876, the walls around Bovino were rebuilt, under the Byzantine Emperor Basil I (having been recaptured by the Byzantines), and the streets were laid out in their characteristic narrow design. In the 11th century, when the Normans arrived in Italy, Bovino was one of the final remaining Byzantine strongholds. In 1656, bubonic plague killed the majority of the local population, and only 1,200 people survived. Today, Bovino remains a tranquil and peaceful little town.
Bovino was the seat of the diocese of Bovino from the fifth century until 1986.
With a deeply Roman Catholic community, Bovino has several ancient churches. The oldest is St. Peter's (Italian San Pietro), which was built on the site of a temple to Hercules. The gothic (rare for the south of Italy) Church of the Rosary (Italian Chiesa del Rosario) has an elongated brick campanile. The Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its interior varies in style according to age. The most ancient section is the chapel of San Marco in Ercana, housing the relics of this local patron saint.
Of particular interest is Bovino's claim to a Marian apparition in the twelfth century. Pope John Paul II has had a particular connection with this. As Archbishop of Kraków, he visited Bovino in 1965 together with eleven other Polish bishops. He then laid the foundation stone of what was to become the Santuario di Santa Maria di Valleverde. Situated part way up hill from the main SS90 trunk road to Bovino, the Santuario has become a popular pilgrimage site in the Puglia region. Karol Józef Wojtyła returned as Pope John Paul II in the 1980s in order to officially ratify the apparitions and open the church.
Whilst Bovino has several big festivals, the largest is the "Feast of August 29th". Dating back to the time of the ruling Guevara family, Bovino has a fiera on that day. This is a legal recognition of Bovino's importance as a market town. In addition to visits by a large number of vendors, there is usually a holy procession featuring the statue of the Madonna of Valleverde. The day is also marked by an historic cavalcade, particularly popular with the local community, given its agrarian economy.
Bovino's economy is principally agrarian. Main crops are olive oil, sunflower oil, wine and tomatoes. Family small holdings have increasingly given way to co-operatives, allowing farmers to gain access to larger markets. Grape vines are generally of the sangiovese variety. Bovino grows winter tomatoes in large greenhouses. Tomatoes are of the plum tomato variety. Bovino also has its own varieties of Puglia cheeses, including mozzarella, caciocavallo, ricotta and provolone. The main industrial area of Bovino is Bovino Scalo, situated 8 kilometres (5 miles) downhill by the River Cervaro. This zone marks a boundary for the Tavoliere d'Italia, a large fertile plain famous for producing high quality durum wheat for pasta. Nearby Foggia claims several of the world's most famous pasta manufacturers, including Barilla and Buitoni. Of increasing importance is tourism. As a member of the Italy's Most Beautiful Villages Club, Bovino is widely recognised for its natural beauty and archeological treasures. There are excellent restaurants which specialise in local food. However, there are few places for visitors to stay, with no hotel within the village itself. Fiat has become an important local employer since the construction of the Punto model began at Melfi. There is a regular bus service to the factory for employees.
Part of the castello has been renovated and become a bed an breakfast locale. Since 2007 several bed and breakfasts have been established throughout the town. Please access the newest Bovino, Foggia website to find those small hotels.
The largest single edifice is the Norman castle. It occupies a commanding view of the village. The courtyard is permanently open. The interior is currently undergoing restoration and is scheduled to become part of the museum. It contains many interesting treasures, the most intriguing of which is a claimed thorn from Jesus Christ's crown. The church of San Pietro contains a painting of the crucifixion of St. Peter by the Master of Bovino of the Caravaggio school. The villa communale is a municipal park beloved of the locals. With ponds and fountains, it has an extensive arboretum lined with horse chestnut trees. There are several panorama viewpoints. Most are next to remains of the original Roman wall. The Roman aqueduct is a reminder of the ancient past. It is likely that Hannibal camped on Monte Castro during his march to Rome. Bovino is well known for its attractive arches and palaces, most of which are still in use. Several streets in the historic centre are still stepped and paved with cobbles.
- All demographics and other statistics from the Italian statistical institute (Istat)