Located on the first hills of the Murge, distant only 30km from Bari, Conversano has ancient origins dating back to the Iron Age (VIII-VI century BC.), when the populations of Peucets Japigi established a settlement here, known as Norba, and placed around the centre a series of megalithic walls, that still exist.
In 268 BC the town submitted the Roman domination and its history followed the fortunes of the Empire until its fall and the subsequent barbarian invasions. Conversano flourished again in the Middle Ages with the Normans with the new name of "Cupersanum. In 1422, after several dominions, the county passed to the Orsini, which offered the territories to the Aragons that ruled them for about four centuries,. Among the most famous tyrants of the House, Jerome II of Aragon, known as the Guercio di Puglia, is remembered for having ruled the county for 40 years until 1645, imposing oppression and harassment of various kinds, including the "jus primae nocti" (the Lord had the right to spend the first night with the wives of the newly wed couples).
The Castle of Conversano, built by the Normans in 1054 for defensive purposes, is located on the highest point of the hill at the centre of the city. It was converted into stately home in the XV century by the Acquaviva Family. It currently has a trapezoidal shape with four towers at each corner and is the seat of the Municipal Art Gallery and preserves a series of XVII century paintings of the "La Gerusalemme Liberata" of the artist Finoglio.
The Cathedral is a typical example of Romanesque-Pugliese style. The construction was started by the Normans in the late XI century and in early XII century, and then it was enlarged in 1300 and subsequently altered in later centuries. It has one major nave and two imposing aisles with tripartite façade with pilasters. The church preserves In the left aisle, a XIV century fresco that presents an icon of the Madonna della Fonte, patron Saint of the city.
Not to miss: the Monastery of San Benedetto (XI century), the Church of Santa Caterina (XII century), Castle di Marchione, an elegant hunting lodge built by the Acquaviva Family, the Church del Carmine (1652), the Church of Santa Maria Island (1462) and the Lakes of Conversano, located in the lower basins at the foot of the hills that fill after heavy rains.