Comune di Bitonto

View of the historical center

Coat of arms

Location of Bitonto in Italy

Coordinates: 41°07′N 16°41′E / 41.117°N 16.683°E / 41.117; 16.683
Country Italy
Region  Apulia
Province / Metropolitan city Bari (BA)
Frazioni Mariotto, Palombaio
  Mayor Michele Abbaticchio
  Total 172.9 km2 (66.8 sq mi)
Elevation 118 m (387 ft)
Population (31 December 2007)
  Total 56,302
  Density 330/km2 (840/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Bitontini
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 70032
Dialing code 080
Patron saint Immaculate Conception
Saint day May 26
Website Official website

Bitonto ([biˈtonto]) is a city and comune in the province of Bari (Apulia region), Italy. It is nicknamed the "City of Olives", due to the numerous olive groves surrounding the city.


Bitonto lies approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) to the west of the city of Bari, near the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The communes next to Bitonto are: Bari, Bitetto, Palo del Colle, Altamura, Toritto, Ruvo di Puglia, Terlizzi, and Giovinazzo.


The city was founded by the Peucetii, and its inhabitants referred to by the Greek settlers of the region as Butontinoi, an ethnonym of uncertain derivation.[1] According to one tradition, the city was named after Botone, an Illyrian king. Its first city wall can be dated to the fifth to fourth centuries BC; traces remain in the foundations of the Norman walling.

Old engraving of Bitonto

Similarities of coinage suggest that Bitonto was under the hegemony of Spartan Tarentum, but bearing the numismatic legend BITONTINON. Later, having been a Roman ally in the Samnite Wars, the civitas Butuntinenses became a Roman municipium, preserving its former laws and self-government and venerating its divine protectress, whom the Romans identified by interpretatio romana as Minerva; the site sacred to her is occupied by the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli. As a city of the Late Roman Empire, Bitonto figures in the Liber Colonis of Frontinus, in the Antonine Itinerary and other Imperial itineraries, and the Tabula Peutingeriana, a post where fresh horses were to be had for travellers on the via Traiana for Brundisium.

The foundations of a Paleochristian basilica came to light in excavations beneath the cathedral's crypt, but no written evidence survives of an established diocese in the Early Middle Ages. Though there is no evidence that a Lombard gastaldo had his seat at Bitonto, Lombard customs and law insinuated themselves deeply in local social fabric.

During the ninth century, Bitonto successfully withstood a Saracen raid, in which the besiegers' leader was killed beneath the city's walls[2] Bitonto took part in the revolt of Melus of Bari in 1009.

In the Middle Ages Bitonto was a fief of several baronial families, before it passed permanently in the thirteenth century to the Acquaviva, who took their name from their stronghold at Acquaviva delle Fonti:[3] The Acquaviva were later dukes of Atri, and their minor signory of Bitonto was raised to a marquisate in 1464 by the King of Naples, Ferrante di Aragona in favour of Giovanni Antonio Acquaviva; on his premature death it passed to his brother, the successful and cultivated condottiero Andrea Matteo Acquaviva, who exchanged it in 1487 for the marquessate of Ugento, which he subsequently lost.[4] In 1552 the citizens paid for the city's freedom the considerable sum of 66,000 ducats.

In 1734, during the War of Polish Succession, the Spanish army under Charles of Bourbon and the Duke of Montemar defeated the Austrians under Giuseppe Antonio, Prince of Belmonte at the Battle of Bitonto, thus securing possession of the Kingdom of Naples for the Bourbons.

Main sights

The city includes a medieval burg and a modern area.

The main landmarks include:


Famous natives


Bitonto is well known for its production of extra virgin olive oil, which is exported to America and elsewhere in Europe. The city also produces wine, beer, cereals, almonds, and textiles.

Recently, Bitonto has also become a popular tourist destination.[5]


Bitonto is not directly connected to the Italian national railway system. However, it is serviced by an electric rail line operated privately by Ferrotramviaria. Bitonto is 8 kilometres (5 miles) away from the international Karol Wojtyła Airport of Bari.

Around Bitonto, there is a ring road looking like a perfect circle from which however the eastmost part is missing .

International relations

Twin towns—Sister cities

Bitonto is twinned with:


  1. Archived May 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine..
  2. Archived May 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Acquaviva d'Aragona from 1479: Acquaviva d'Aragona genealogy
  4. [ %20 %20 %20 %20 %20 %20ANDREA%20MATTEO%20ACQUAVIVA.htm "Condottieri di ventura"]
  5. "Portale Ufficiale del Turismo della Regione Puglia" (in Italian). Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  6. Градови партнери [City of Banja Luka - Partner cities]. Administrative Office of the City of Banja Luka (in Serbian). Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  7. Kryetari i Bashkisë së Durrësit Vangjush Dako ka pritur në një takim kryetarin e bashkisë së Bitontos Michele Abbaticchio, Bashkia Durrës, 2014-06-26 (in Albanian)


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bitonto.
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