Gioia del Colle

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Gioia del Colle
Comune di Gioia del Colle
Gioia del Colle is located in Italy
Gioia del Colle
Gioia del Colle
Location of Gioia del Colle in Italy
Coordinates: 40°48′N 16°56′E / 40.800°N 16.933°E / 40.800; 16.933Coordinates: 40°48′N 16°56′E / 40.800°N 16.933°E / 40.800; 16.933
Country Italy
Region  Apulia
Province Bari (BA)
Frazioni Colonia Hanseniana, Corvello, La Torre, Casino Eramo e Marzagaglia, Monte Sannace, Montursi, Murgia, Santa Candida, Terzi, Villaggio Azzurro
 • Mayor Sergio Povia (PD)
 • Total 206.48 km2 (79.72 sq mi)
Elevation 360 m (1,180 ft)
Population (2007)[1]
 • Total 27,910
 • Density 140/km2 (350/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Gioiesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 70023
Dialing code 080
Patron saint Saint Philip Neri
Saint day 26 May
Website Official website

Gioia del Colle (pronounced [ˈdʒɔːja del ˈkɔlle]) is a town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy. The town is located on the Murge plateau at 360 metres (1,180 ft) above sea level.


The earliest evidence of human settlement in the area now known as Gioia del Colle dates back to the 7th century BC. Archaeological excavations have revealed that at that time a Peucetian village was located in the area of Monte Sannace, about 5 kilometres (3 mi) from Gioia).

The current town developed around an old Byzantine fortress. The placename, in fact, seems to derive from Joha, short for the surname Joannakis, a Byzantine family living in the area during the Middle Ages. However, there are many theories regarding the origin of this placename. One of the most famous local legends has it that Princess Bianca Lancia irretrievably lost all her jewels there, after being supposedly confined in the Castle of Gioia del Colle during her pregnancy with her son Manfred of Sicily under the suspicion of having been unfaithful to Frederick II.

The town grew further in the 12th century, during the time of Norman Count Riccardo Siniscalco d'Altavilla, who built the Castle of Gioia del Colle, which was, then, destroyed by William the Wicked. In the 13th century the fief was under the rule of Frederick II of Swabia, who rebuilt the castle.

Gioia del Colle was a principality of Taranto and a fief of the princes De Mari of Acquaviva delle Fonti until the abolition of feudalism.

Castle of Gioia del Colle[edit]

The Castle of Gioia del Colle was built in the 12th century, during the time of Norman Count Riccardo Siniscalco d'Altavilla, the first tenant of the fief. Destroyed by William the Wicked of Sicily, the castle was rebuilt in 1230 by Emperor Frederick II after his return from the Crusades. It is speculated[by whom?] that Frederick would stay there during his hunting expeditions. The castle was then completed by the Angevins, who created windows in the curtain wall.

The later owners between 1600 and 1800 (the Acquavivas family of Aragon, the De Mari and Donna Maria Emanuela Caracciolo) changed the castle so that it no longer had the appearance of a fort. According to Bonaventura da Lama (who quoted the historian Pantaleo) Bianca Lancia was confined in this castle while pregnant with Manfred of Sicily, on suspicion of having been unfaithful to Frederick II. In fact, on the wall of a cell (which is likely to have been the princess') are carved shapes which according to a local legend are intended to represent her breasts, which she cut off in pain at being so humiliated. After giving birth, she sent the alleged illegitimate child to the emperor on a silver platter together with her breasts. According to others[who?], this is merely a legend: Bianca Lancia chose to legitimise the children she had borne during their relationship by undergoing a legal marriage shortly before she died. Still others[who?] hold that it was Frederick II who died after the wedding.



According to ISTAT decennial census figures, the population of Gioia del Colle was 17,583 in 1861; it fell to 13,256 in 1871, but then rose to a high of 28,645 in 1961. After a decline to a recent low of 26,290 in 1991, it has been rising and in 2009 was 27,910.


In addition to being the birthplace of Ricciotto Canudo, who fuelled the debate about the art of the cinema during his stay in Paris, Gioia del Colle has been the location of filming of three films, in different periods:

Notable people[edit]

Monument to Sergeant Romano



The economy of Gioia del Colle is centred on agriculture, dairy farming and commerce. The town is famous for its Fior di latte mozzarella and its Gioia del Colle Primitivo wine.

Wine DOC[edit]

Red, white, rose, sweet dolce and fortified liquoroso wines are permitted in the Italian wine DOC of the area. Red and rose wine grapes are limited to a harvest yield of 12 tonnes/ha while white wine grapes are limited to a yield of 13 tonnes/ha. The reds and roses are a blend of 50-60% Primitivo, a 40-50% blend component of Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malvasia (with Malvasia being further limited to a 10% maximum). The whites are composed of 50-70% Trebbiano with other permitted local grape varieties, such as Pampanuto, making up the remainder. A varietal Primitivo wine is permitted, provided the wine is 100% composed of the grape with yields limited to 8 tonnes/ha and a minimum alcohol level of 13%. The dolce wine of the area is composed of at least 85% Aleatico with a 15% maximum blend component of Malvasia, Negroamaro and Primitivo making up the rest. The grapes must also be limited to a harvest yield of 8 tonnes/ha and have a minimum alcohol level of 15%. The liquroso version must have a minimum alcohol of 18.5%.[4]

Infrastructure and transport[edit]

Gioia del Colle Air Base hosts the 36th Italian Air Force Wing.



  1. ^ Population from ISTAT
  2. ^ Alfonso Marrese. Apulia Film Commission.
  3. ^ Else Mundal and Jonas Wellendorf, eds., Oral Art Forms and Their Passage into Writing, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2008, ISBN 978-87-635-0504-8, p. 98.
  4. ^ P. Saunders Wine Label Language pg 167 Firefly Books 2004 ISBN 1-55297-720-X
  5. ^ ironic video of the historical interpretation of Claudio Villa (YouTube)

External links[edit]