Valesio (Torchiarolo) in Puglia

Valesio (Torchiarolo)

In ancient times, Valesio was known as Valisu and it was an ancient Messapic settlement that was later occupied by the Greeks and then the Romans. The oldest ceramic finds made in the area are from the 8th century BC. In the 4th century, the settlement really became an expansive urban area, covering about 72 km2 (90 ha, according to various ongoing studies).
At the beginning of the Imperial era, the Greek geographer Strabo baptised the town Aletia, while the best known Latin writers called it Valetium or Balesium. In the 4th century, in the Tabula Peutingeriana it was named as Balentium, and then Valentium. The ancient town was on the Via Appia running from Traiana to Càlabra. It was also crossed by a stream and, during the reign of Constantine I the Great (280-337) is became a station for the Imperial post service. Since it was halfway between Brindisi and Lecce, it also was a staging post (that is, a place where horses and mules could be changed) and offered other services, including a spa complex. Historians generally agree that Valesio was abandoned towards the end of the Roman period, although some claim it was destroyed by William the Bad in 1147.
As yet, there is no archaeological evidence to support the latter theory. The Valesio archaeological area covers about 90 ha in the north of the Torchiarolo municipality, about 5 km from the town. It includes the remnants of the settlement that existed from the 8th century BC to the late Roman age and the ring of walls (4/3C BC) with a double curtain wall filled with stones.
The latter structure is about 3 km long, 4 m high and is still clearly visible in many parts. Behind the Via Traiana-Càlabra, you can see the structures from a late Roman spa. Indeed, visiting this part really makes it possible to learn how the baths worked and how the water was heated using a complex system of hot air. Various objects have been found at the site, including precious vases, weapons, a range of gold and silver objects, Messapic, Greek and Roman coins and a number of inscriptions. These finds are now on display in the provincial museum. The quantity and variety coins from a number of the major cities of those times indicate the importance of Valesio as a trading centre. It is likely that it even had its own mint producing silver coins. It is also worth visiting the Parish church, a restored 18th-century building.

Digg Stumbleupon Technorati Wikio Facebook Newsvine Reddit! Twitter


  1. Priscila  

    December 24, 2009 at 7:20 PM

    Very historic and a great place to visit.

Search by label

Last comments about Italy


destination blogs - blogcatalog blog directory