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Margherita di Savoia, Province of Barletta Andria Trani, Puglia, Italy





The town is situated along the Adriatic coast, and belongs since 2004 to the newly established province of Barletta-Andria-Trani (it was included before then in the province of Foggia).

To the northwest there is the Salpi Lake, as well as a wide salina (saltpan) of over 3,000 hectares, among the largest in Italy, and its name was until 1879 Saline di Barletta. In the past mainly a fishing center, it is today a renowned spa and seaside resort.
Margherita di Savoia coatofarms

Info

Altitude: sea level -- Population: ca. 12,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 71044 -- Phone Area Code: 0883 -- Patron Saint: San Salvatore

Where to stay

History

Founded in the 4th century BC as a trading center along the salt routes, its name was in Latin times Salinae Cannarum, was then changed in the Christian era to Sancta Maria de' Salinis, of which a mention is found in 1105 in a donation act to bishop Rogerius, probably the St. Ruggiero presently patron saint of nearby Barletta.

The settlement was almost completely abandoned in the late 14th century because of a malaria epidemics, and the inhabitants took refuge to Barletta. Only about a century later after the marshes were cleaned a reconstruction began, and the name was again changed to Saline di Barletta. Salt extraction was always of great economic interest for rulers, but of little advantage for the citizens. A great change came with the enlightened sovereign Charles III Bourbon, who called architect Luigi Vanvitelli to design a modern saltpan plant.

Also Gioacchino Murat tried to establish a self-government for the salt industry, and in 1813 gave Saline the municipal status and direct control on the salt extraction. In the early decades of the 20th century, as almost all the fishing and farming villages of the area, the extreme poverty encouraged a large part of the population to follow the American dream, and a second wave of emigration followed after the Second World War, this time mostly to the northern Italian regions and other European countries, as well as Canada and Australia.

An economic revival has taken place since the mid-20th century with the rise of the spa establishments (used, it seems, also by Hannibal in the 3rd century BC), the "Terme", where the waters rich of minerals of the saltpan and marshes provide muds for a number of therapeutic uses.

Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani

What to see

  • The Saline and wetlands, a very special environment with its own unique flora and fauna, where it is possible to make excursions and practice birdwatching
  • The Torrione, a sighting tower built in the 16th century, later a military garrison used as a checking point, then changed in the 19th century into the telegraph office.
  • Torre Pietra, 11 km north of the town, also a sighting and defensive tower, named after a promontory called Punta della Pietra which has by now disappeared throgh the slow erosion during the centuries.
  • The parish church of the Santissimo Salvatore (Holy Saviour), rebuilt on a previous construction, which preserves a precious image of the Saviour leaning against a column, and still has an ancient bell produced by the Agnone bellmakers in 1595 for the parish church existing at the time.

Provinces of Puglia: Bari | Barletta-Andria-Trani | Brindisi | Foggia | Lecce | Taranto