Manduria & the Oria Archaeological Museum | Puglia

Find Out All About the Messapians in the Land of Primitivo di Manduria

Come to the Salento in Puglia to find out about the founding cultures in little, friendly museums like the one in the video. It's located 10 km north of Manduria in the interesting town of Oria, where much of the Messapian history is available to see. The Archaeological museum is small and friendly; you might have to knock to get in as we did.

You don't have to go to Rome to get your fix of ancient artifacts. The Messapians of ancient Puglia are well represented in the intimate Museum of Archaeology in Oria. A bit to the south, the town of Manduria also has an ancient well and Messapian walls. The population of Manduria has stayed steady since antiquity--yes, thousands of years before the Romans. See some of the representative art and some new finds from a child's tomb recently excavated in Manduria, narrated by glass artist Francesco Selvaggi.

Who were the Messapians?

According to Wikepedia:

The Messapians (Ancient Greek: Μεσσάπιοι, romanized: Messápioi; Latin: Messapii) were a Iapygian tribe who inhabited Salento in classical antiquity. Two other Iapygian tribes, the Peucetians and the Daunians, inhabited central and northern Apulia respectively. All three tribes spoke the Messapian language, but had developed separate archaeological cultures by the seventh century BC. The Messapians lived in the eponymous region Messapia, which extended from Leuca in the southeast to Kailia and Egnatia in the northwest, covering most of the Salento peninsula.[1] This region includes the Province of Lecce and parts of the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto today. 

In Manduria, you can tour the Archaeological Park of the Messapic Walls which surround the old town and are annotated in the upper right of the map.

A new and highly regarded attraction in Manduria is the Civic Museum, the Museo Civico Manduria which tells the story of the world wars and their impact on the southern Puglia city mostly through a display of pictures. It's on Via Ludovico Omodei, 28, 74024 Manduria. The Facebook page is mostly in English.

Map of Manduria

The train station is near the center of the map, not far from the archaeological park of the Messapian walls and the famous Fonte Plinaino,  a name given it by Pliny the elder, who noticed that the level of the water in the well never varied. 

Zoom out on the map to see Manduria's proximity to the sea to the south and Oria to the north.

Manduria Lodging

Manduria is home to the famous Primitivo di Manduria DOC red wine. You can go to the Museum of Primitivo Wine Culture to not only check out the traditional methods of producing the wine, but you can taste and purchase bottled wines and vino sfuso, wine from pumps like gas pumps for your car, which you use to fill your own bottles or containers you can buy at the museum. (See our video about Vino Sfuso).

When to go to Manduria

I suggest spring. We went in a very wet year, and the Late April Wildflowers around Manduria were spectacular. For weather and climate charts, see Lecce Weather and Climate.

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