A few kilometers from Taranto, on the edge of the Tarantine Murgia, stands Statte, the latest addition to the municipalities of the Ionian province. In fact, it achieved administrative autonomy in 1993. Since then, a new phase of growth, progress and redemption of the community has begun, committed to the recovery of its historical and cultural identity, its traditions and the valorisation of its archaeological and environmental heritage. Point of union between the hill and the sea, Statte stands on an area rich in history which in ancient times was totally covered by the sea which dug with its erosive force the first caves where animals first found shelter and finally man who he transformed the environment by adapting it to his own living needs. In the Sant'Angelo cave, recent studies have made it possible to identify the remains of prehistoric fauna and, in particular, the "felis spelea", a large lion that lived in this region. Flint and bone tools were found. In the Accept Piccola area and in the Leucaspide ravine you can spot dolmens, mysterious examples of megalithic culture. Further Neolithic finds were found at the beginning of the century in the site called "Piazza del Lupo", on the slopes of Monte Sant'Angelo, the highest point of Statte. But it was in the Greek/Roman era that the territory took on great importance. The fundamental element of human presence is water, at that time, probably, the harnessing of the waters of the Triglio took place, an example of Roman hydraulic wisdom. For many centuries the water coming from the Triglio has constituted a fundamental water resource for the nearby city. The Great/Greek period also left traces, especially in toponyms. The Gravina of Leucaspide, for example, should mean white shields perhaps due to the presence of garrisons armed with shields or due to the legendary clash between the Romans and Taranto which strewn the ravine with corpses and therefore with shields. The rock churches of Sant'Onofrio and San Giuliano are interesting, in which a small metal cross of Lombard origin was found. In the Middle Ages and up to the present day, there was a fiefdom of Statte, which passed through numerous feudal lords, most recently the Blasi (1730), who were the founders of modern Statte. They provided for the repopulation, attracting new inhabitants from nearby towns. Tradition also speaks of an ancient castle on the edge of the Zingara Canal, a blade that cuts the center of the town in half.
Every place in Statte hides the past, stories of men, hides tombs and necropolises. The incredible tuff quarries, ravines, dolmens, settlements and rock churches, the Triglio aqueduct, the Sant'Angelo Cave constitute an interesting tourist and cultural itinerary of great attraction. The Leucaspide ravine is located to the west of the town center and actually arises from the confluence of two other smaller but also notable ravines: the Amastuola and Triglie. It takes the name of Accept in the upper part, Leucaspide in the middle course and Gennarini in the last stretch. The name probably derives from the Greek: white shields, due to the presence of Greek warriors who fought, led by Pyrrhus, the battle of Ascoli. But asp could also say snake as if to underline the sinuous path of the Gravina. The area is characterized by sedimented rocks of marine origin, deposited at different times. The basic formation is made up of limestones and limestones/dolomites, referable to the Cretaceous. More than four thousand years ago, some primitive social nuclei lived in this Gravina. The wealth of natural caves, the presence of the waters that flowed abundantly from the Triglio and Vallenza springs and the richness of the vegetation allowed some tribes to settle near the Masseria Leucaspide, in the vicinity of the Masseria l'Aclettula and, further north, on the Monte Specchia and in the so-called Piazza dei Lupi. In 1884, during a campaign of archaeological studies, a dolmen was found near the Masseria Leucaspide, another was found in the pine forest of Accept Piccola, just over a kilometer from Statte. They are probably sepulchral monuments from the Neolithic age. The numerous farms can also be admired in the area: ancient fortified farms, still intact, inhabited by sharecroppers and farmers. Often the buildings arose where rock villages or medieval farmhouses previously existed, therefore they could represent historical continuity, the evolution of settlements. Furthermore, one of the most interesting hydraulic engineering works of the Roman era is located in the Statte area: the Triglio Aqueduct. About eight kilometers of underground tunnels which convey the water collected from numerous springs to drum on the round arches of the emerged part, towards Taranto. The submerged part is located in an area of extraordinary beauty, between the Gravina l'Amastuola and that of Triglio, to join in the deepest and longest furrow which is that of Leucaspide.
The patronal feast dedicated to the Madonna del Rosario, Protector of Statte since 1946, is one of the events most awaited by the faithful and takes place on 7 and 8 October. The festival, in addition to religious events, offers the community aggregation initiatives, such as the band concert in Piazza Vittorio Veneto and the fireworks display. The most heartfelt celebration is framed by cheerful illuminations and various cultural events proposed by local associations and the public body. Equally traditional and evocative is the feast of San Michele Arcangelo (1700) which takes place in the Triglie countryside (second Sunday in May). The masses come celebrated in the church of the same name. According to an ancient tradition, during the procession the fields are blessed with a wish for prosperity. On the last Sunday of May, however, the feast of San Girolamo Emiliani takes place and on the last Sunday of June that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Christmas events begin on November 22nd, the day of Saint Cecilia, with the traditional Breastplates (ribbons of leavened dough fried in oil boiling) and the music of the pipers. Among the Christmas initiatives, the Sacred Representation on 24 and 25 December and on the Epiphany at the evocative Tufo Caves (Zuccate) in Via Madonna del Rosario. The Easter holidays are characterized by the simplicity and intensity of Holy Week with the solemn procession of the Holy Mysteries on Good Friday. After the celebration of Easter, on Easter Monday the appointment is with the Scarcella Festival (typical Easter cake with the most imaginative shapes, decorated with icing, colored sugared almonds and hard-boiled eggs) organized by the Pro Loco in agro Triglie. During the summer there are many opportunities to meet and have fun in Gravina with music, theatre, dance, folklore and, in the month of September, the traditional Frisella festival.
The rural culinary tradition is reflected in the typical Statsi dishes which see organic extra virgin olive oil as a sublime ingredient, produced by local companies who have been able to harmonize tradition and modernity by offering a very high quality condiment recognized nationally and internationally. The oil lends itself not only to adding flavor to dishes, but is excellent for the production of pickles such as jardiniere, tomatoes, mushrooms, just to name a few. Bread, biscuits, biscuits braided with almonds or glazed, sweet taralli or with pepper, focaccia with tomato or stuffed with onion and olives are specialties that can be enjoyed all year round in bakeries and, during the Christmas and Easter holidays, the typical sweets of tradition such as "purcidde" fried and dipped in honey and "carteddate". Fine meats cooked on the stove by butchers and fresh fruit and vegetables from organic farms. Even craftsmanship has seen the transformation of ancient works into true art. The processing of wood and wrought iron gives life to objects of unparalleled beauty.
Click on the photo to enlarge
Click on the photo to enlarge