Facts in brief:
Began as important Roman colony & commercial center 2nd cen. BC; became Saracen stronghold 9th cen.; seat of Byzantine governor of Apulia 885; razed by William the Bad of Sicily 1156, but rebuilt under Frederick II (1220-1250); site of basilica & reliquary of San Nicola (1087); from here the First Crusade was launched by Peter the Hermit in 1096; duchy, under several rulers from 14th cen., passing to Sforzas, then to Kingdom of Naples 1558, until it became part of Italy 1860; damaged by British WWII.
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