Ruvo di Puglia
Rìuve [Central Apulian dialects variation] (Neapolitan)
Comune di Ruvo di Puglia
The Ancient Cathedral of Ruvo
The Ancient Cathedral of Ruvo
Coat of arms of Ruvo di Puglia
Location of Ruvo di Puglia
Ruvo di Puglia is located in Italy
Ruvo di Puglia
Ruvo di Puglia
Location of Ruvo di Puglia in Italy
Ruvo di Puglia is located in Apulia
Ruvo di Puglia
Ruvo di Puglia
Ruvo di Puglia (Apulia)
Coordinates: 41°07′N 16°29′E / 41.117°N 16.483°E / 41.117; 16.483
Metropolitan cityBari (BA)
 • MayorPasquale Roberto Chieco (Democratic Party)
 • Total221 km2 (85 sq mi)
240 m (790 ft)
 • Total25 341
DemonymRuvesi (Italian) Ruvestines
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code080
Patron saintSaint Blaise
Saint dayFebruary 3
WebsiteOfficial Municipality Website of Ruvo

News Website 1

News Website 2

News Website 3

"Ruvo died to revive, like the Phoenix of Heliopolis, from the ashes of itself"[3]

Ruvo di Puglia (Italian: [ˈruːvo di ˈpuʎʎa]; Ruvese: Rìuve [ˈriːuvə]) is a city and comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Bari in Apulia, southern Italy. It is a very historic city and considered a City of Art[4] in the Apulia region. It is part of the Murge karst landscape and It is devoted to agriculture, wine and olive growing.

It is part of the Alta Murgia National Park,[5] of which it houses an operational office. It is also home to the Jatta National Archaeological Museum which has increased the fame of the city thanks to the thousands of archaeological finds from the Hellenistic period preserved there, so much so that the Talos Vase, a precious piece of the collection, has become a community symbol.[6]

Physical Geography


The countryside of Ruvo with its vineyards, olive groves and arable land is one of the largest in the Land of Bari, it falls within the production areas of the Altamura Lentil which obtained the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) in 2017. The territory extends for 222.04 km2 and borders to the north with Bisceglie, to the north-east with Terlizzi, to the east with Bitonto, to the south-east with Altamura, to the south with Gravina in Puglia, to the south-west with Spinazzola and Andria and to the west with Corato. The territory, not only that included in the Alta Murgia National Park, has the typical characteristics of the Apulian karst landscape: sinkholes, karst valleys or lame, among which the upper course of the Lama Balice (otherwise known as the Tiflis stream) is remembered, as well as caves, including the Grave della Ferratella, which is the deepest in the region, and the Abisso di Notarvincenzo. The surface drainage is largely directed to the Adriatic Sea, but there are extensive endorheic areas, among which the largest are that of Calentano, drained by karst sinkholes, and that of the Pantano, adjacent to the inhabited center and drained by an artificial tunnel designed at the beginning of the 20th century. In addition, the countryside is characterized by two large tectonic valleys, where there are modest thicknesses of non-karst soils, both clayey and sandy and pebbly, home to surface water strata, exploited since ancient times with wells that are partly still usable, which have favored the ancient settlements.[7]

Flora and fauna

The Adriatic side has a wooded scrub, covering 1100 hectares, including numerous groups of oak, typical of the area, while in the hinterland the greater exposure to the winds has created a selective vegetation characterized by shrubs and brambles. In the countryside, 1500 plant species have been identified, among which the Austroitalic stipa stands out. In the pastures there are endemic species such as wild orchids and herbaceous layers characterized by ferules, asphodels and grasses. Typical of the area, among the spontaneous vegetation, is undoubtedly the cardoncello mushroom while in the woods, in addition to Downy Oaks, fragni, holm oaks, Turkey oaks and farnetti prevail. In the undergrowth there are species of gigari and peony mascula.

The habitat of the Alta Murgia does not offer specimens of large animals but can include the presence of foxes, wild boars, hares, hedgehogs and vipers. However, the existence of numerous species of insects and birds is of particular interest. Typical of the area are the calandrelle, the larks, the cappellacce and the tottaville. The group of birds of prey is also quite numerous among which there are sparrow hawks, red kites, brown kites, bianconi, lanari and an important population of lesser kestrels. The karst environments are instead characterized by specimens of Italian crested newt, toad, tree frog and edible frog while the dry and stony aspect of the Murgia favors the existence of reptiles such as the Kotschy gecko and the Leopard Snake.[8]


The city is subject to a Mediterranean climate (or, according to the Köppen classification), characterized by dry and muggy summers and mild and rainy winters. Snowfalls are infrequent, a little more likely in February, but snow nevertheless appears at least twice a year and also generally can accumulate for a couple of days, but not exceeding 20 centimeters (0'6 ft). Although episodes with significant accumulation are not uncommon, without even bothering historical events such as the 50 cm (1'6 ft) of January 2–3, 1993. Every winter there are days with low temperatures close to 0 °C (32 °F), due to currents coming from the Scandinavian, Balkan or Russia areas, as well as the extensive nighttime frost in the countryside. Episodes of evening-night fog in late autumn and early winter are also not rare. The summer period, on the other hand, is affected by the influence of the North African winds which determine long periods of heat and sirocco.

The highest peaks in temperature were reached in June 2007 with around 42 °C (107 °F) and in July of the same year it reached 43 °C (109 °F). Often the extremely sultry summers led to long periods of drought, among which we remember those of 1908 and 1914 or, more recently, of 1980.


The origins of the name "Ruvo"

The toponym Ruvo comes from the ancient Greek "Ρυψ" (Rhyps, pron. "Rüps"), deriving from the Indo-European root "ρυ-" (rhy-, pron. "Rü"), the same that gives rise to the term "ρυας" ( rhyas, pron. "rüas") and which means violent torrent. So the first inhabitants wanted to indicate with the onomatopoeic root "ρυ-" that area in which the streams flowed impetuously which then gave rise to the karst phenomena of Apulia. With the complete colonization by the Greek civilization, "ρυ-" was transformed into "Ρυψ", thus giving life to the toponym. The inhabitants were instead indicated with the term "Ρυβαστὲινων" (Rhybasteinon, we read "Rübasteinon"), often abbreviated to "Ρυβα" (Rhyba, pron. "Rüba"). Later with the arrival of the Romans, "Ρυβα" was transformed into Riba and then Rubi, to become Rubo in the Middle Ages and finally Ruvo. Since 1863, following the birth of the Kingdom of Italy, the official name of the municipality has become Ruvo di Puglia, to avoid any kind of confusion with the homonymous Lucanian city, Ruvo del Monte.[9]

Prehistory, the arrival of the Greeks and the Roman age

Ruvo's territory in the 3th century BC.
Ruvo's territory in the 3th century BC.

Some artefacts of worked stone date the first settlements in the Ruvestine countryside to the Middle Palaeolithic while some remains of villages confirm the presence of man since the 6th millennium BC. However, during the Bronze Age the territory was inhabited by the Morgetes, a people Ausonic, then expelled by the Iapygians with the advent of the Iron Age. The Iapygians settled in the land of Bari giving rise to the Peucetians lineage and Ruvo was initially founded as a hilltop village currently located between the municipal pine forest and the church of San Michele Arcangelo. The countryside around Ruvo in the Peucetian age was very vast and also had a port, called Respa, near Molfetta.

Fresco of dancing Peucetian women in the Tomb of the Dancers, fourth or fifth century BC
Fresco of dancing Peucetian women in the Tomb of the Dancers, fourth or fifth century BC

Between the 8th and 5th centuries BC the Greeks peacefully colonized Ruvo which from that moment took the name of "Ρυψ". Around the 4th century BC the village experienced its moment of greatest splendor by conducting commercial exchanges with most of the Italic populations, including the Etruscans, minting its own currency and boasting a population and a territory never reached again (Ruvo's polis (City-State) of the Greek age included Molfetta, Terlizzi, Corato , Trani and Bisceglie). Ruvo established itself as a thriving polis of Magna Graecia and its wealth consisted in the trade of olive oil and wine and in the flourishing production of pottery. The Greek city of Ruvo ended up becoming protected by Athens, as shown by some coins, but also an ally of Taranto.

Epigraph to Gordian III
Epigraph to Gordian III

The defeat of the Greek Taranto in the war against Rome marked the end of the Hellenistic age in Apulia, thus making Ruvo enter the orbit of Romanization with the name of Rubi. Later Ruvo played a fundamental role for the Roman Republic and for the Empire, first being assigned the Roman citizenship, then the title of municipium and finally becoming the station of the Via Traiana. In 44, according to legend, Ruvo saw the rise of its own diocese at the behest of St. Peter, who appointed St. Cletus as the first bishop, who in the future would become pope. However, in the imperial age the ruvestine territory underwent a decrease as Molfetta, Trani and Bisceglie rise, thus losing contact with the sea.[10]

Medieval Ruvo

The last two remaining towers of the medieval walls of Ruvo near via Veneto
The last two remaining towers of the medieval walls of Ruvo near via Veneto

In the fifth century the flourishing Ruvo disappeared under the blows of the invasions of the Goths which reduced the city to a pile of rubble for the first time. Ruvo, refounded on the slopes of the original hill, was first conquered by the Lombards and then fell prey to the Saracens. It was in this period that the ruvestines decided to equip themselves with a wall with towers and four doors: Porta Noè (now via Veneto), Porta del Buccettolo (via Campanella), Porta del Castello (piazza Matteotti) and Porta Nuova (corso Piave). In the 11th century the fortress of Ruvo entered the county of Conversano and suffered further violence due to internal struggles for the management of power, which conflicts led to the second destruction of the town. However, it was under Frederick II of Swabia that Ruvo finally recognized a cultural and economic growth, a period marked by the construction of the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral and in the territory between Ruvo and Canosa of Castel del Monte. However, the foundations of the cities of Corato and Andria also date back to this historical moment, whose territories further diminished the ruvestine territory.

Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of Ruvo di Puglia in 2017

From 1266 Ruvo became a fief and entered, together with the whole of Apulia, among the dominions of the Angevins. Despite this, the Ruvo fiefdom saw the period of peace and prosperity it was going through fade once again since in 1350 the city was razed to the ground and sacked by Ruggiero Sanseverino. The ruvestines were thus forced to rebuild the inhabited center, the walls and also decided to build the Torre del Pilota (Pilota Tower) 33 meters high (108 ft). The Crown of Aragon dominion succeeded the Angevin dominion.The clashes for domination over the Kingdom of Naples between France and Spain resulted in the famous Battle of Ruvo, which saw the victors of the Spaniards led by Consalvo of Cordova against the French troops of Jacques de La Palice stationed in Ruvo. During this battle the city was razed to the ground for the third time. The same fief also saw the thirteen French who clashed against as many Italians in the Challenge of Barletta starting from its wall.[11]

The Carafa: Counts of Ruvo

Coat-of-arms of House of Carafa of Counts of Ruvo

In 1510 Oliviero Carafa bought the fief of Ruvo and the city itself experienced a negative historical period.[12] Most of the historic ruvestines patrician families became extinct and only in the seventeenth century new noble families arose that knew a particular and flourishing economic condition. The walls were further strengthened but despite the long period of peace the population was suffocated by the oppression of the Carafa and by the tyrannical government of the same who transformed the Pilota Tower from a defense tool to a prison for the opponents.[13]

Between the end of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or in the era of the counter-reformation, Ruvo saw the birth of various associations and congregations still operating today especially in the care of the rites of the Ruvestine Holy Week. However, in this dark period of Ruvo's history some illustrious men stood out among which the most famous is undoubtedly the doctor Domenico Cotugno. In 1806, under the Napoleonic rule, feudalism was abolished, thus concluding the dominion of the Carafa which lasted three centuries. Among the Carafa family of the Counts of Ruvo we note the hero of the Neapolitan Republic of 1799, Ettore Carafa.[14]

From the Unification of Italy to the present day

Pilota Tower as a Telegraphic Office in 1880s
Pilota Tower as a Telegraphic Office in 1880s

After the dominion of the Carafa, the liberal uprisings also touched Ruvo but failed miserably as in the rest of the South.[15] However, in the early nineteenth century Giovanni Jatta was particularly distinguished, who was elected by the ruvestines as the city's lawyer, won the case against the Carafa family, obtaining lavish compensation and was among the protagonists of those archaeological excavations that brought to light the numerous finds of Peucet, Greek and Roman period preserved in the Jatta museum.[16] In the period prior to the unification of Italy, Ruvo was the seat of a Carbonara sale called "Perfetta Fedeltà"[17] which included the patriot and lawyer Francesco Rubini who was responsible for organizing the Risorgimento uprisings also in Ruvo. In the post-unification period Ruvo, albeit slowly, knew the signs of progress also thanks to the ruvestine deputy and agronomist Antonio Jatta, who pointed out to the government the numerous problems of Apulia and the province of Bari. Fundamental milestones of progress were marked in 1905 from the arrival of electric lighting and in 1914 with the diffusion of public water. During the First World War 367 ruvestines fell on the battle fronts[18] while in the fascist twenty years other works of public benefit were carried out such as the reclamation of the quagmire and the creation of the sewer in 1938[19] of which still today we can distinguish some Fascist manhole covers with the Fascist coat of arms alongside the coat of arms of the municipality of Ruvo di Puglia. After the Second World War Ruvo distinguished itself in the cultural sphere, above all thanks to the works of the painter Domenico Cantatore, but also in the economic sphere with the flourishing vines and olive groves.


Coat of arms of Ruvo di Puglia from 1950
Coat of arms of Ruvo di Puglia from 1950

There is very little information regarding the heraldry of the municipality of Ruvo di Puglia. To shed light on the origin of the coat of arms is Giovanni Jatta in his Historical mention of the Ancient City of Ruvo in the Peucetians times. The current coat of arms derives from the incorrect interpretation of the etymology of the toponym since it was believed that Ruvo derives from the expression "land abundant with brambles" and therefore the population called itself a vase full of brambles as a coat of arms. Over time, however, the coat of arms was simplified, giving life to the current one, that is a terracotta amphora on a blue background. In his historiography Jatta advised to replace the coat of arms inspired by the Greek coins found on which the ancient name of Ruvo was imprinted, or Ρυψ (Rhyps, to be read "Rüps"), as happened for the city of Taranto. However, this hypothesis has never been taken into consideration and now the terracotta amphora is inextricably linked to the name of Ruvo.

Flag of Ruvo di Puglia
Flag of Ruvo di Puglia

Today's coat of arms was recognized through a decree of the President of the Republic on January 11, 1950, with the following blazon:

"Blue with terracotta amphora."

Even less is known about the gonfalon and the flag. The prevailing color is red, which probably recalls the red of the clayey earth and the glaze of the amphora. The banner is displayed in all public ceremonies and also during the processions of the patron saints and the Octave. It is made up of a red cloth bordered and decorated with golden embroidery on which the golden inscription Comune di Ruvo di Puglia stands out. The golden ornaments of the banner undoubtedly have mysterious origins since silver embroidery and inscriptions are provided for the municipalities.

The Ruvo di Puglia flag is rarely used, although displayed on the balconies of Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, seat of the town hall, during certain periods of the year or on the occasion of secular and national holidays. The flag is made of a red fabric lined with a floral pattern and edged with gold embroidery.

Monuments and places of interest

Religious architectures

The churches of Ruvo di Puglia constitute the main nucleus of the town's artistic heritage. This is due to the existence, until 1982, of the Diocese of Ruvo, founded according to tradition by Saint Peter, who placed the future third Pope Saint Anacletus at the head of the local episcopate, then united with Bitonto at the end of the 19th century and finally merged into the diocese of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Population from ISTAT
  3. ^ Fenicia, Salvatore (1857). Monografia di Ruvo di Magna Grecia (in Italian).
  4. ^ "TURISMO: Ruvo diventa città d'arte". International Web Post. 2012.
  5. ^ "Parco Nazionale dell'Alta Murgia". 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Quel vaso di Talos che dà lustro alla città di Ruvo". La Repubblica. 2012.
  7. ^ "Flora e Fauna di Ruvo". 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Flora, Fauna e Territorio". Proloco Ruvo di Puglia. 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Il nome di Ruvo". 2012. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "Cenni storici". Proloco Ruvo di Puglia. 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo, Ruvo di Puglia. Speranza & de Rosellis.
  12. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Storia storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. p. 49.
  13. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. pp. 50–51.
  14. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. p. 50.
  15. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. pp. 58–61.
  16. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. pp. 54–55.
  17. ^ Jatta, Filippo. Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. p. 62.
  18. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. p. 66.
  19. ^ Jatta, Filippo (1930). Sintesi storica della città di Ruvo di Puglia (in Italian). Speranza & de Rosellis. p. 72.