The territory between Monopoli, Fasano and Ostuni, in recent years open to a quality tourism thanks to the excellent accommodation facilities in the area, can be considered always a golden triangle to the prerogatives offers. That, in hindsight, have been there for centuries: an ordered and fruitful country in which the main protagonists are the imposing and twisted olive trees and carob trees, a historical and archaeological wealth unparalleled and value added of imposing and magnificent complex, which is little flattering establish farms, a few steps from the sea.
The land between Monopoli, Fasano and Ostuni has a historical and archaelogical wealth without equal
But even before those who now enjoys the area in relax mode and holiday, this was chosen as a residential home to large communities from refined civilization, as evidenced by the rock dwellings which boast impressive underground churches, rich in frescoes.
The people who settled here chose the canyons, deep ruts dug by the rains in the limestone, as ideal places to build in malleable tuff cave-houses and cave-churches, in natural cavities extended by subsequent processing.
Another factor conducive to the allocation in the past centuries was the climate that in the area is mild and ideal for the cultivation of olives, almonds, citrus and also cereals and vegetables. You must not forget that during the period when these places were inhabited the coasts were infested by the Saracens or Berber predators and the canyons, sometimes difficult to reach and hidden by the dense Mediterranean vegetation, they represented an ideal retreat.
The most important and interesting canyon of the area, both for the beauty of the landscape for complex settlements and a church of considerable size and of great artistic value, is called Lama d’Antico (Provincial Road Fasano-Savelletri, Contrada Sarzano, Fasano – www.lamadantico.it – firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the visit to this fascinating and out of time place, accompany us Giuseppe by Cooperative ARS Archaeology, Restoration and Development (for information and visits tel. +39 328 3597517 – +39 338 8175123) and some of the large colony of cats that now have become the official guides.
As we enter the bottom of the canyon, enriched by so much natural vegetation and centuries-old olive trees, listen to what Giuseppe tells us that catapults us into the Apulia between the eighth and thirteenth centuries A.D. contention between the Lombards and the Byzantines.
In the villages gathered in the canyons frescoes narrate a story of peace and happy coexistence between the two cultures with a contemporary use of latin and greek and coexistence of both rites.
This does not mean that they had no dealings with the prevailing political authorities – explains Giuseppe – but their isolation allowed them a peaceful existence and coexistence.
So it is now archived the hypothesis that wanted these places of worship as Basilian hermits caves choices to monks from neighboring Greece. Furthermore, according to our guide, St. Basili did not found religious orders nor promoted the hermitage.
Irrefutable evidence of contacts between monasticism greek and latin is located in the cave church of San Lorenzo which is the fresco depicting, side by side, St. Basil and St. Benedict.