Bitonto, whose name probably derives from the Illyrian king Bottone, founder of the city, in the past had an access to the sea that now is the district of Santo Spirito of Bari. Greek colony, first, and municipium Roman, the city, after a period of decline recorded a new renaissance with the advent of the Normans, who gave a strong boost town economy, spurring the reclamation of new lands for cultivation and erecting new buildings.
In the XV century, Bitonto was ruled by the Lords Ventimiglia, Orsini, Acquaviva d'Aragona and Cordoba (heiress of the great Spanish captain who in 1503 won the South of Italy). May 25th 1734, under the walls of Bitonto, a memorable battle between Austrian and Spanish took place, which ended with the victory of Charles III of Bourbon, which marked the end of Austrian domination in the South and the beginning of the Bourbon one.
The Cathedral of Bitonto is considered one of the most sublime expressions of the Apulian Romanesque style. Built between the XI and XII centuries, it presents an imposing façade divided into pilasters, a richly decorated portal and a beautiful central rosette. Despite the Baroque stucco, partially removed during the works of restoration in the XIX century, the original Romanesque structure is almost entirely intact.
Outstanding are the capitals with its mythological subjects, as well as animals and flowers. Among these is significant one depicting the flight of Alexander the Great, for its resemblance to the similar mosaics of Otranto, Taranto and Trani; the pulpit of 1229 is a masterpiece of Master Nicolaus.
Among the other churches not to miss: the Church of San Francesco, in Gothic style, the Church of the Crucified and the Church of San Gaetano, both in Baroque style.
The Angevin Tower, built in the late XIV century, served as a watchtower to defend the city.
Among the civic buildings, worth of mention: Palazzo Sylos Calò, in late Renaissance style; Palazzo Sylos Vulpio, which is a National Monument built in the second half of the XV century and is famous for the decorations of the interior courtyard; Palazzo De Ferraris-Regna, Palazzo De Lerma and Palazzo Sylos Sersale.