Margherita di Savoia, Province of Barletta Andria Trani, Puglia, Italy
Where to stay
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.