Of the site where the city of Ruvo was originally built.

The city of Ruvo stands on the back of a hill which makes it much higher than all the other neighboring cities, and consequently visible at a longer distance. The air you breathe is healthy and perfect as a sign that many convalescents from the neighboring places go there to recover, except only those who suffer from chest pain. The current inhabited area, however, occupies not the summit of the hill, but rather the slope of it which faces the south. The top of the hill is a quarter of a mile north of the city. It is the same currently occupied by a magnificent Church, and by a Convent of PP. Minors observing under the title of S. Angelo .

From that point you can enjoy a stupendous view, of which all the strangers who come to Ruvo remain enchanted, and they go there expressly to enjoy it. All the beautiful cities that from Barletta to Bari are built on its coast are subject to the same one with the Adriatic Sea. The ventilation there is strong. All winds, and especially the northern winds, so dominate that point that those who wished to keep permanent dwellings there would pay dearly for the advantage of the most beautiful and gayest view that could be desired. Those Religious who are obliged to stay there permanently must be very careful to guard against blows of air which could be fatal to them.

The same attention must be given to those who have their homes on the northern side of the city. This is the highest point of it opposed to the said Convent de ‘PP. Minor observers, although the ventilation there is less violent than that which is at the site of the said Convent. On the other hand, this side is less extensive than the other three sides of the city that face the east, the south, and the west. This has been done with sound shrewdness, being the same the most exposed to the impetus of the winds.

Going through, and contemplating on all points the places adjacent to the [a100]Having already said Convent, I got the idea that our city was originally built on that site, that is, on the top of the hill. All the circumstances that I have put into calculation led me to believe that the present inhabited area of ​​it was built in the times after the slope of the hill, so that the inhabitants were no longer exposed to those inconveniences, and to those diseases that for the above reasons it became inevitable then that the site of the city was on the top of the hill.

This opinion of mine is fully justified in the abstract by two places in Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Speaking of Oenotro who landed, as mentioned above, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, he tells us that Condidit oppida parva, et contigua in montibus, ut tunc erat mos. And shortly thereafter he added Arcadicum enim est delectari habitatione montium: qua ratione Atheniensium Hyperacrii vocati sunt, et Parthalii: illi quod summa juga tenerent: Parthalii vero quod ad mare incolerent [139] . We also read at Virgil

. . . . . . . Cantabitis Arcades inquit

Montibus hæc vestris: only sing periti

Arcades . . . [140] .

Having thus demonstrated the Arcadian origin of our city, it should not be hard to believe that its first inhabitants have fixed their headquarters on the top of the hill on which it is built.

The local circumstances which have fixed my full conviction confirm this idea more and more. The territory of Ruvo forms part of stony Puglia . There the ground is so cluttered with stones that to be able to purge it of them, and place it in the state of perfect cultivation, you need a considerable expense. This is done willingly by the owners of the suburban estates, who, being employed in the gardens and gardens, give greater income.

The stones that are extracted are of an immense quantity. So in order to be able to relocate them without losing much ground, the funds are surrounded [a101]same of dry parieti, which in that province take the place of hedges, and ditches that are formed in other non-stony provinces to guarantee and keep the funds. Hence Giulio Frontino, speaking of the methods used in that Region to confine or close the rustic grounds, says that this is done by building muros, macerias, congeries, et collectione petrarum [141] .

Now it is noteworthy that of the suburban funds of the city of Ruvo the only ones for which it is seen neglected by the owners in most part, and for all sides this improvement are those adjacent to the said Convent of S. Angelo, which form the top of the hill. The quantity of stones there is far exceeds any other stony district of the Ruvestino countryside. If the aforementioned stones were extracted from the funds, to exhaust them it would not be enough to form an ordinary pariete, but it would be better to build immense walls of not easy execution and not light expense. This circumstance has done, and makes the aforementioned owners discourage from undertaking its improvement.

My family owns a garden of six moggia located precisely at the top of the aforementioned hill where the said Convent of S. Angelo is, from which the public road that passes through the middle with a small clearing of land, also public, divides it. My excellent parent, who was a diligent and very active family man, had a particular predilection for this fund that made him enter the difficult task of cleaning it with stones. This operation, carried out only in part of the aforementioned fund, cost him a heavy expense. Such was the quantity of stones that came out that after having consumed many of them in the solid and extraordinary pariete built by him along the public road, so many remained that there was no place to store them.

However, this awakens the right idea that those are the stones of the factories [a102]ruins of the ancient city abandoned by the inhabitants in later times. Especially since many of them are obviously factory stones arranged by the hammer and worked by the other tools of the art. Add to this that in digging the ground one discovers there step by step beautiful ancient wells hollowed out in the living stone, which in that district is close, and where more, where less is a few palms of depth. These wells must have been servants to the houses that once were there.

From all of these things, it seems to be necessary to conclude that the immense extraordinary and unusual quantity of stones found in the land adjacent to the aforementioned Convent points us to the site of the ancient city, later moved lower in the southern slope of the hill under a more tempered. The following circumstance gives irrefragable proof of this.

It is certain that very ancient tombs have been found on the present site of the city. My paternal home is in the center of it off the Cathedral Church. Sixty-five years back my excellent parent wanted to add a new room to it. In excavating the foundations, two very ancient sepulchres were found. Another was found thirty years back in the back of the cellajo of the Caputi house, which is further down the city not far from the public square. I speak only of these three sepulchers because I saw them with my own eyes, the first in my childish age, and the other in my manly age, since other tombs have also been excavated in other places of the present inhabited city of our city. which I cannot give a particular account.

It is known that the ancients had their tombs outside the town. Now if ancient sepulchres were found in the present site of the city, it must be concluded by necessity that in the time of the first foundation of our city the present inhabited area was a countryside, and the aforementioned city was built on the summit of the hill in the site of S. Angelo . It is also useful to pay attention to the quality of the vases that were found both in the two tombs discovered under my house, and in the other of the Caputi lords.

The first were elegant in shape, and one of them fluted , but rustic. The latter were painted, but of very little consideration. Which [a103]Prove that the aforementioned tombs belonged to the inhabitants of the first foundation, who were not rich, and could not use that funerary luxury that has been recognized in the Ruvestini tombs recently unearthed. These belong to later times when the city had already become adult and rich, and had been transported from the top of the hill to the site it currently occupies, which at the time of the first foundation must surely have been a countryside.

I will now point out that since many houses have been rebuilt in Ruvo or have fallen or fallen due both to their age and because they lack solid foundations, what follows has been observed. In digging the foundations of them it was found that the aforementioned houses had been built on other ancient ruined or semi-ruined houses. So it could well be said that the current city of Ruvo, or at least a large part of it, is a new city built on the ruins of the ancient. I would add that about twenty years ago my brother Giulio was, and I having resolved to form a new kitchen for the use of our former paternal house, that Bishop’s Mensa granted us the concession of the land that it needed from the atrium of the its mill adjacent to it.

In digging the foundations of this new room to a depth of about twenty palms, a workshop was found formerly employed in the work of clay pots with the comfortable attendants to the aforementioned art, and with the furnace where the pots were cooked. It was the aforesaid shop equipped with a flagstone floor so solid and strong that it took a long time to cut it into regular pieces that I wanted to keep, and many pickons and chisels came out.

This proves that the ancient plan of the city was much subject to the current plan, and that a good portion of what is now underground was previously above ground. This observation is confirmed by seeing that many ancient houses in Ruvo have the lowlands (called jusi in the language of the country) inhabited by poor people so deep that to be able to access them you have to descend many steps, so that they do not look like these houses, but rather very underground buildings. subjected to the level of the streets of the city from which they are accessed.

[a104]
These very ancient low buildings, however, in the first construction of the aforesaid houses, of which they form part, must have been placed on the level of the same streets which had remained elevated by the ruins of the buildings caused by wars or tremors, of which the memory has been lost. Not otherwise the present houses could be built on the ancient ones without solid foundations. This is the defect of almost all the ancient buildings of Ruvo already partially corrected by the new reconstructions that have been made. But this defect seems to have to be repeated by a calamity which in past times has struck the whole city, or at least a large part of it.

The same can be observed in the houses of the village of Bosco Trecase which lies at the foot of Vesuvius. The basses of the ancient houses that are now very exposed to the public roads were first on the floor of them. The immense masses of ash and slag thrown by Vesuvius, having raised the level of the public roads, have made underground those dwellings that were previously above ground. It seems that the same happened in the city of Ruvo. It is not at all likely that I said bass called jusiemployed in the dwelling of men and not of beasts, in their first construction they were built underground. On the other hand, the ancient buildings that have found themselves very subjected to the current plan of the city conclude that it must have been much lower in ancient times, and has now remained higher from the ruins of the ancient houses.

The ancient very solid pavement I found, of which I spoke earlier, calls me to a digression that I believe is useful to my fellow citizens. The quality and solidity of it makes the crass ignorance or malice of the current Ruvestini masons unexcusable. They have lost the art of paving which the ancient masons possessed in such an eminent degree. They have made themselves the scourge of that Population, which is for this reason obliged to deprive itself of the comfort of terraces so useful, indeed necessary no less for their own relief, than to dry the cloths of the laundry, to dry the fruit and to expose to the sun everything that needs its beneficial rays.

The quality of the pavements is so bad that they cause them to split, indeed they unravel after a short time. Who does not have the house covered by [a105]a roof must be under the torrents of rain that flows on each side on its head with the very bad pavement sayings. The main cause of this disadvantage is that the composition of the present paving consists of lime, a few tiles and a large quantity of minute petroleum. These however, while they cannot absorb the liquid lime, and soak well with it because they are not porous, they also need their tips and their cuts. These under the trampling gnaw and break up the mass of the pavement not ligated by itself and united together with perfection due to the lack of soft elements that can absorb the liquid lime well. Added to this is also the little and too slight duplicity that is given to this bad dough.

The usual quackery of these people apologizes by saying that Ruvo lacks the material to form good pavements. Excuse silly ridiculous and fully denied by the excellent ancient pavement I found in the shop of a poor craftsman! This discovery proves that the material is not lacking there, and that the ancient Ruvestini masons knew it and used it so well that after so many centuries their work also resisted the strength of the tools with which I had that pavement cut into regular pieces to preserve it.

To cut off such silly pretexts, I applied myself to analyzing the composition of the ancient pavement. I found that it was the same size of lime, which in Ruvo is excellent, and of a stone which in that Region is called hornbeam . It should be noted here that the aforementioned stone is porous in itself of three kinds. The first of them, however also porous, is very hard and heavy. He then works to thresh the crops by making the mares rotate around the yard of large pieces of it worked and adapted to this use. Also resisting fire very well, it is useful to use it in the formation of hearths, since ordinary stones soon remain from the fire or cracked or calcined.

The second species is very frivolous, and is reduced to dust by just handling it. The third then has an average quality between the first and the second. It has enough solidity and consistency, but without much hardness. It absorbs fluids, and consequently also liquid lime, and lends itself to forming a well-connected mass under the blows of the mallet. I came from [a106]this to assure me that this species of hornbeam can very well make up for the so-called lapillus which is used in Naples and contours in the formation of pavements, which is lacking in that Province.

The ancient pavement I am discussing is formed of this species of hornbeam. I therefore wanted to make an essay in practice. Rightly distrusting the Ruvestini masons, I employed a skilled master from another country. I had that hornbeam of which I have spoken minced into small pieces, and kept it for twelve days to drink liquid lime. Then I had the pavement thrown away and beat it well with mallets as is fought in Naples. The pavement formed in this way turned out to be good, and it would have been even better if it had been made more double. But all my attention was not enough to completely correct the habit contracted by all the masons of that province of making too thin pavements, while the ancient pavement I mentioned has a duplicity equal to those that are made in Naples and contours .

If this essay I made was not enough to shake the stubbornness of the Ruvestini masons, it must be said that they find their account in making bad pavements to redo them again after a short time, or that what Orazio Naturam expellas said is too true. furca, tamen usque recurret . But it is worth this digression to keep my fellow citizens warned so that they will no longer be fooled by their charlatanism. Providence also insults this, which has largely provided the Agro Ruvestino with everything that may be necessary or useful for the needs of human life.