Mottola, located at 387 meters above sea level, is also called the "spy of the Ionian Sea" due to its dominant position on the Gulf of Taranto. From the archaeological finds discovered it can be assumed that the hill has been inhabited since Prehistoric times. Probably a Peucetian settlement, during the 4th century BC. C., on the hill there was a military outpost of which a section of the walls is still preserved today in a cellar of the town centre. The first annotation of the name MOTVLA on a historical document appears only starting from the 8th century AD. in the Lombard age. In the medieval era the city perched on a smaller defensive ring within the Greek age walls, building new fortifications starting from the 11th century along the perimeter marked by the current Via Muraglie, Mazzini and Piazza Plebiscito. Mottola was endowed by Rayca, a Saracen mercenary in the pay of the Byzantine leader Basilio Boiannes, with a castle as early as 1023, which was then probably restored and modified by the Normans and later by the Swabians. During the Norman domination it became an episcopal seat until 1818, when it was aggregated to Castellaneta. The territory surrounding the hill, especially during the last centuries of the first millennium, in the period of the second Byzantine domination, saw the spread of the custom of building or excavating numerous rural churches and monasteries. This dense "network" of places of worship and small Italian-Greek monasteries - many of which are rock-cut - has been used since the 19th century by the Norman conquerors, in full agreement with the Roman Church, for the 're-Catholicisation' of the Apulian countryside, profoundly marked by the political, theological and cultural influence of Byzantium.
Mottola, suggestive and charming town to discover, it stands 387 meters above sea level, from which you can admire the entire gulf of Taranto, up to the mountains of Basilicata and Calabria and it is precisely its strategic geographical position which is also known as Spia dello Jonio. The city boasts an exceptional historical, architectural and artistic heritage with age-old rock settlements medieval caves that dot the rural area: the "Caves of God" dug into the tufaceous valleys and ravines; of particular value for the quantity of frescoes is the crypt of S. Nicola. It is equally interesting the environmental aspect of the Mottola territory, a karst area, broken by sudden events fractures, the ravines, crossed by underground rivers that open their way towards the Ionian Sea by digging the great canyons of Petruscio, Capo Gavito, Forcella and San Biagio. The area north of the city, however, leaves room for lushness Mediterranean scrub, where those who love nature can delve into the most spectacular oak forests in the Taranto province.
THE RITES OF HOLY WEEK
Those that take place in Mottola are among the best known and interesting from the Ionian province, both for the genuine accents religiosity, both for the rich statuary that parades in the two processions of the "Mysteries": the evening of Good Friday and the morning of Saturday Holy. Among the rites and traditions of Holy Week, he couldn't miss the costumed revival of the Living Passion, organized by Confraternity of Carmine. It takes place on Palm Sunday evening at the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Carmine (Madonn'abbasc), a very beautiful place suggestive that allows a strong concentration and pushes people to prayer.
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF GUITAR
The International Guitar Festival is one of the events fixed points of the Mottolese summer. The event opens with Serenade a path traveling with guitar concerts or ensembles with guitar, jazz, new age, rock, country, classical music, flamenco and fusion. Thanks to this formula of musical offering, the listener will be able to choose the soloist, the group or the musical genre of your liking. The natural layout of the historic center medieval "Schiavonia", its small squares, the spaces created from layout of the houses gave the Festival an ideal container for the creation of serenades. Through a patronal celebration that combines faith and show, Mottola celebrates Saint Thomas Becket every year in the month of December. The highlight of the celebrations usually fall on the 29th December. For the spectators, a journey into the Middle Ages until his martyrdom, afterwards religious conversion. The initiative is organized by the association “Gli Araldi of St. Thomas Becket" which carries out dissemination work historical-religious on the figure of the Patron Saint. Feast of St. Joseph on March 19th: in the neighborhoods the traditional bonfire is held with the tasting of the products typical. Fair of various goods on June 5th. Feast of San Antonio on June 13th: religious and civil celebrations organized by the brotherhood of the same name. Party of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 16 July. Feast of the S.S. Doctors Cosma and Damiano on September 26th. Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 13th.
Mottolese cuisine includes simple, varied and tasty "fricidd", in able to enhance the products that the countryside can offer and satisfy customers more demanding palates. Typical first courses are: orecchiette and "fricidd" with sauce or turnips, cavatelli with chickpeas or beans or with tomato sauce and cacioricotta, broad beans and leaves, "sprayed" broad beans, soup pezzente, baked cardoncelli and the "ncapriata". In the local cuisine important second courses of meat also dominate, especially cooked on the stove; chops, "Capuzza" and "gnjumeriedde" (offals of kid or lamb cut into strips, seasoned with parsley and garlic elbows with intestines and cooked on the grill). There is no shortage of piaffi and timbales which are carefully prepared at home for the Easter and Christmas holidays: "callarel" (boiled lamb and mixed country vegetables), "marro" (lamb offal roll), "p'ddich chien" (focaccia filled with onion, black olives and anchovy fillets). Tipical desserts local are the nougats, the "scartagghiet" (canestrelli di shortcrust pastry fried with honey), "pett'l" (pastry balls simply leavened "purcidd", fried and soaked in mulled wine, the "purcidd" (shortcrust pastry dumplings) and the delicious taralli "nglppet" (sugar-coated) of the Easter period.
Frazione di Mottola - Click on the photo to enlarge
Click on the photo to enlarge