Massafra is located on the south west part of the Murgia hills on the edge of the San Marco Ravine and it is part of the Park of the Terra delle Gravine. The town is divided in two parts situated on the two sides of the ravine, joined together by a high bridge.
Massafra was founded in V century by some refugees from the Roman province of Africa. Later the town was dominated by the Normans, the Aragonese, the French and by a number of feudal lords.
The main monument of Massafra is the castle built by the Normans and modified in the XVI century by the local feudal lord Pappacoda and, later, by the Aragonese, who also built the defensive walls. In the XVIII century the part of the castle facing the ravine and the octagonal tower were rebuilt following a design by the local artist Mauro Manieri. Nowadays the castle belongs to the Town Hall.
The most outstanding monuments of Massafra are the rock churches located along the ravine. The most interesting ones are San Leonardo, Sant'Antonio Abate, Santa Marina, San Marco and Candelora, all containing frescoes.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Scala, located inside the ravine with the same name, can be reached by a beautiful Baroque staircase made up of 125 steps. Not far from this sanctuary one can find the Dispensary of the Magician Greguro, a complex of linked cells located in an obscure ravine. In some of these caves there are hollows dug out of the rock where the monks stored medical herbs.
Massafra tourist information
Palazzo di Citta' - Piazza Garibaldi
Towns in Puglia