The Bojannes’ choice of the site responded to strategic reasons: the city, in fact, arose in 1019 on the site of the destroyed Aecae, a settlement active since pre-Roman times, which later became an important municipium thanks to the transit of the Traiana-Irpinia road. Thanks to the spiritual heritage of the ancient center, already a vital bishop’s seat, and to the hinge position for the direct traffic on one side to Bari and Brindisi, on the other to the Gargano, it became an important stop on the pilgrimage routes. Here, for example, there was the hospital of Saint Mark and, in the citations of the time, the Traiana road is expressly mentioned with the name of “Via Francigena” (Francigena road), the itinerary of faith that connected Central Europe with the Holy Land.
With the arrival of the Normans, the city became an important and privileged center, so much so that Robert the Guiscard made it his favorite residence granting numerous privileges. As a center of spiritual irradiation, the magnificent Cathedral dedicated to the Assumption was erected, one of the most noteworthy episodes of Romanesque art in Puglia. The construction is documented as early as 1083, but the architectural history of the current building began in 1093 to end in the Federician season. The sculptural cycle that reproduces a lively repertoire of medieval iconography is very rich. Apart from the famous rose window, a special mention deserves the two bronze doors, a masterpiece created between 1120 and 1130 by the founder Oderisio of Benevento.
Also of great architectural value is the medieval church of St. Basil Magnus, with elements of reuse of the Roman era. In addition to the rich architectural heritage, the city preserves other precious evidence of history and art at the Civic Museum and the Cathedral Treasure, where, among other things, the rare Exultet rolls are kept , miniated parchment codices of XI- Twelfth century of exceptional documental value.