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The village is located on the northern side of the Cervaro creek, on the left bank of the river, and is easily accessed from Troia, following the provincial road n. 123. The name and the heraldic image of the bear on the city coat of arms refer to the fauna wild that once populated the lush forests of the area. Even today the healthy air and the green hills are the attraction for pleasant excursions in the surrounding area.

The inhabited area extends degrading on the slopes of Mount Saint Mark; the narrow paved streets of the historic center offer evocative glimpses of spontaneous architecture embellished with valuable monumental episodes. Among these the abbey complex built around the Saint Michael's Cave. The site is among the oldest in Capitanata dedicated to the worship of the Archangel; connected to the cave, in the eleventh century, the imposing church of the Annunziata, with a clear and squared profile, originally dedicated to the most Holy Trinity, then to Saint Angel and Saint Mary. The building, characterized by the presence of two domes, one of which is ellipsoidal, dates back to the twelfth century and is due to similar architectural experiences witnessed on Gargano.

Today the access to the cave takes place from the church of Saint Pilgrim, built in 1527 but almost entirely remodeled in the last century. Annexed to the holy cave of Orsara stood the abbey of Saint Angel, provided with a guesthouse to accommodate the pilgrims. The structure, occupied first by the Basilians and then by the Benedictines, passed in 1229 to the dependencies of the Knights of Calatrava, assuming the rank of house-mother of the Spanish Order in Italy; from here and from the church come numerous fragments placed in the church of San Nicola and in the Diocesan Museum. Among these the most interesting are a lion-shaped fountain and a stone column, probably components of a Romanesque pulpit, a precious silver goblet from the Middle Ages, a pair of stylized lions and two capitals.

After various events, in the 16th century, during the dominion of the Spanish Guevara family, part of the structure was transformed into a baronial residence. Also the expansion of the beautiful New Fountain overlooking Mazzini square and the construction of the Guevara tower complex, a few kilometers from the town, famous for having hosted the hunting expeditions of the Bourbon rulers, are attributed to Guevara. Other testimonies that concur to represent the image of the village are the features of the ancient walls as well as the two surviving gates, Greci's gate and Porta Nuova, which document the evolution of the original urban layout.

The historical survey includes some churches such as the 11th century Madonna of the snow, the church of St. John the Baptist, the 11th century Monastery of St. Dominic and the Parish Church dedicated to St. Nicholas. Inside there is a monumental Calvary in stone with two sides. The work, originally painted, dates back to the sixteenth century and refers to the context of the Aragonese court of Naples inspired by French experiences.

 

 
PLACES TO GO

In town
The Cave of Saint Michael with the adjacent churches. The Church of St. Nicholas of Bari with the precious stone Calvary and statues of the Neapolitan school. The New Fountain (XV-XVII century). The Diocesan Museum. The monastery of Saint Dominic that incorporates remains of the walls.

Nearby
About 7 kilometers from the town, the majestic ruins of Guevara tower (18th century), a noble hunting estate. The Acquara woods and the picnic zone in the Trainera area.

EVENTS CALENDAR
  • Festival of St. Michael on May 8th and September 29th with a procession.
  • Second Sunday of June asparagus's country festival in Borgo Giardinetto.
  • Festival of Saint Anthony on June 13th.
  • Wine festival on last Sunday of June.
  • The last weekend of July Orsara Jazz, an important musical review with musicians of international appeal.
  • On August 5th festival of Madonna of the snow.
  • On November 1st Fucacoste e Cocce priatorie, a big party to commemorate the dead with bonfires and decorated pumpkins.
Roberta De Iulio