Barletta, Province of Barletta Andria Trani, Puglia

A populous city, famous for the colossus of Barletta, a bronze statue, probably representing Roman Emperor Theodosius II, and for one of the most celebrated duels in the middle Ages, the Challenge of Barletta. Since 2009 it is the joint capital of the new province of Andria-Barletta-Trani.


  • Altitude: m a.s.l
  • Population: about 90,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 70051
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0883


On February 13, 1503, thirteen Italian knights challenged and defeated thirteen French knights to wash the insult made by La Motte, the French captain who had accused the Italians of cowardliness and unreliability.

In the 19th century, during the Risorgimento, the great writer and politician from Turin, Massimo d'Azeglio, based his novel "Ettore Fieramosca or the Challenge of Barletta" on the episode. His intent was to rouse the soul of the Italians in a decisive moment for the acquisition of national independence.

Today, Barletta celebrates the anniversary of the historic event with a long series of events (in the fields of entertainment, culture, promotions and sports, etc.). The moment most awaited for is the re-enactment of the battle, planned for September 13 and 14.

What to see

  • The Colossus of Barletta, a bronze statue of an Eastern Roman emperor, more than twice life size (5.11 meters). The legend says the statue washed up on a shore, after a Venetian ship sank returning from the 1204 sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, and that it represents Emperor Heraclius.

    Modern scholars think the statue should represent Theodosius II, even if Honorius has been also proposed with some success. An emperor is clearly depicted, identifiable from his imperial diadem and his commanding gesture that invokes the act of delivering a speech, with his right arm raised, now holding a cross, but probably originally wielding a labarum.

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