Bitonto - Torrione angioino
Bitonto, today a city of a population of about 55000, was probably founded by Greek settlers. Traces of a city wall dating to the 5th and 4th century BC were found. Legends tell that the name Bitonto is connected to an Illyrian king named Botone. Later "Civitas Butuntinenses" became a self-governing Roman municipium,
A Paleochristian basilica existed very early. During the 9th century, Bitonto successfully withstood a Saracen raid but got destroyed by Byzantine troops in 975. The Normans took over Apulia. In the 11th and 12th century. Under the rule of the Normans of Roger II of Sicily, William I of Sicily (aka William the Wicked) and William II of Sicily (aka William the Good), the city prospered and got new walls.
In 1227, Bitonto was the scene of ex-communication of Frederick II accused by pope Gregory IX of having come to terms with the sultan al-Malik al-Kamil.
The massive "Torrione angioino" dates to the 14th century. It was one of 28 watch- and defence towers around the town. A prison was in the basement of this tower, that is about 24 meters high. The walls are up to 5 meters thick.
Seen to the left is the "Porta Baresana", erected in the 16th century.