Description: Oria Castle: The Castle has the shape of an isosceles triangle with a base at the south and a vertex at the north and has three towers in the 88 meter long southern wall: "Quadrata", "Del cavaliere", "Del Salto". The eastern wall, with battlements and two doors, is 107 meters long. In the western part, which measures about 110 meters, there are the buildings and the ancient entrance once also equipped with a drawbridge. At the top is the "Dello Sperone" tower, similar to the bow of a ship, from which you can admire a beautiful landscape. This particular shape of the castle earned him the nickname "Vascello natante nel aria". The ancient manor is also known as the "Gigantic stone jewel" (as Bourget defined it. The massive Quadra Tower (also called "Del Maschio" or "Del Becco") is certainly a Federician work, while the cylindrical towers are from the period From the terrace of the "Del Cavaliere" tower it is possible to dominate a vast territory and the positions of the neighboring cities are indicated on a special orientation marble slab. The parade ground is also impressive, capable of welcoming up to five thousand soldiers. At the foot of the Torre Del Salto is the ancient crypt of Saints Crisante and Daria, the first protectors of the city, the remains of the underground church built by Bishop Teodosio in the mid-1800s. The crypt dates back to the Basilian era from the architectural elements and what is left of the frescoes. The castle was home to princes, knights, marquises and barons, as well as being a destination for scholars from all over the world. The Romanin - Caliandro family, proponent of the rebirth of this monumental asset, purchased the Castle in 2007: static consolidation works and a conservative restoration, carried out completely at their own expense and lasting three years, brought to light beauty and value. Oria Cathedral: It is dedicated to Maria Santissima Assunta in Cielo. In 1750 the bishop of Oria, Mgr. Castrese Scaja had the old 13th-century Romanesque structure demolished, unsafe after the disastrous earthquake of 20 February 1743. Two columns of the temple were purchased for eight thousand ducats to embellish the chapel of the Royal Palace of Caserta . The new church was opened for worship around 1756 by Bishop De Los Rejes. The facade in local carparo stands out. On the left stands the clock tower and, behind it, the bell tower. The whole is then dominated by the superb polychrome dome. Inside it has a Latin cross plan divided into three naves: a structure that has earned the nickname "San Pietro in piccolo". You can admire precious marbles and stuccos, four precious bronze candelabra and artistic statues including those of the Medici saints of the Venetian school and that of the protector San Barsanofio of the Neapolitan school. During the recent restoration, some crypts have come to light, served over the years as tombs of bishops and ossuaries. Today it is possible to admire them by making an excursion in the hypogeum where archaeological finds are preserved and a permanent nativity scene set in the city scenery. The cathedral, at the behest of His Holiness John Paul II, was elevated in 1992 to the Pontifical Minor Basilica. Through the Chapel of the Baptistery, you reach the oratory of the Archconfraternity of Death where you can admire the statues depicting the Passion of Christ that are carried on the shoulder during the Good Friday procession. A staircase leads to the "Crypt of the Mummies", an oratory of the sixteenth century in whose walls niches have been created that still preserve the mummified corpses of confreres of the various eras. Sanctuary of San Cosimo alla Macchia: Located about five kilometers from the town, in the open countryside, it was originally a small church founded by the Basilian monks in an area without any cultivation which explains the nickname "in the bush". For over half a century it has represented the ideal religious center of the whole of Salento. Over the centuries, the church has been enlarged and today, at the top of the facade, it has a large statue of Christ the Redeemer. Outside, in addition to a rich porch, an outdoor church was created for the celebrations of the summer and spring period. Dedicated to the Saints Medici Cosimo, Damiano, Antimo, Euprepio and Leonzio, the sanctuary was recently restored as part of the works for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000. Outside it also has facilities for the reception of pilgrims who come from all over the South and also from abroad. Not far from the Sanctuary, the Episcopal Curia has built a modern structure that houses the Episcopal Seminary. Francavilla Fontana Castle: The Imperiali castle of Francavilla Fontana, is a construction halfway between a fortress and a noble palace (castle-palace). The Castle was born as a fortification of the fief of Oria and was built by Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini around 1450, changed and enlarged by Giovanni Bernardino Bonifacio around 1547, was completed by acquiring the function of residence by Michele III between 1720 and 1727 In 1739 Michele Imperiali IV had it isolated, by knocking down a wall and some shops on the north side, where he then developed the large "garden of delights". In 1782 at the death of Michael IV, lacking the direct heirs, the castle passed between the goods of the kingdom as a feudal property. Abandoned, or almost, until November 1821, the palace was ceded to the state property, becoming a municipal house. The castle has a quadrangular plan and is composed of three asymmetrically distributed floors, it rises on a large moat with powerful escarpment masonry, on which open single lancet windows and casemates. A dented crease almost continuously surrounds the entire building together with the sequence of windows on the first floor. Each of the four corners is protruding like a tower on which an Imperial coat of arms is affixed. The majestic construction is completed at the top by an austere crowning with corbels and Guelph battlements. On the main facade, slightly moved to the west, there is the access portal, enclosed by a frame and between two columns resting on dice, and by composite capitals, which support elongated abacuses. The round arch of the portal is surmounted by an encarp and, in the center, by the Imperial coat of arms. The vertical surfaces of the first floor are lightened by a row of rectangular light windows, edged with frames decorated with plant motifs. More imposing is the rear portal, moved to the east, with the overlying balcony with a mixtilinear protrusion and iron railing. On the eastern facade there is a grandiose loggia consisting of four arches leaning against the wall, within which as many doors - windows open, framed by plant motifs. The loggia ends with a balustrade, supported by sturdy corbels and divided into groups of columns between pillars, the central one of which houses the Imperial coat of arms. On the ground floor, past the entrance hall with barrel vaults, you enter the open courtyard, square in shape and with a triangular portico, supported by Tuscan Doric columns. In the courtyard there is an carved baptismal font dating back to the 14th century from the Matrix church. Currently the castle has the baroque aspect acquired in the early eighteenth century with the loggia towards the Parco delle Rimembranza, the portals and the theater. Francavilla Fontana Cathedral: According to tradition, the origin of the Church is linked to the discovery, near a source near the Casale di San Salvatore, of a Byzantine icon depicting the image of the Madonna, which took place on 14 September 1310 by the Prince of Taranto Philip I of Anjou. Immediately after the discovery of the sacred image, the prince ordered that a church be built around that place in which the icon would be preserved. However, among the various local historians who speak of the origin of the church, Cesare Teofilato stated that already around 1300 there was in that place a church dedicated to Santa Maria di Francavilla, which was to be of Greek rite and with a parochial function distinct from the others parishes in the area. He also claimed that the baptismal rites took place immersively, as attested by the source for the baptism of the children placed in the atrium of the Imperial Castle. Around 1510 the church was enlarged and at that time the main door was between the current niches of San Lorenzo and San Giuseppe and stretched up to the altar of Sant'Anna, where, surrounded by a gate, the wall on the which was the painting. Only in 1552 Domenico di Brindisi and Stefano Salinaro were commissioned to build a chapel that housed the Marian icon, adorned with various sculptures and closed by an iron gate. Other improvements were made in 1560 and so the new building was consecrated on February 24, 1572 by Monsignor Figuerroa, bishop of Brindisi and Oria. In 1613 a new chapel was built where to insert the icon, which until then had been on a wooden altar, surrounded by iron gates; other improvements were made in 1615.