THE PERSUASIVE POWER OF CACC’E MMITTE PDO: THE MONTI DAUNI OF WINE

In the land of the red wine Cacc’e Mmitte PDO on the hills and the green of Monti Dauni: a journey through the history and scents of Lucera, Troia and Biccari.

The wine of the Monti Dauni is called Cacc’e Mmitte PDO which means in italian “Togli e metti”, remove and put. It seems that the name of this red wine comes from the custom of tapping it directly from the barrel and pouring it into the glass. The territory of the Protected Designation of Origin includes three towns in the Monti Dauni area, as the last offshoot of the Apennines, also known as Subappennino Dauno, is defined.

The first, the one from which the Cacc’e Mmitte PDO takes its name, is Lucera, a city with a great past. If Castel del Monte was for Frederick II the emblem of the imperial crown, the manor of Gravina, its garden of delights, the castle of Gioia del Colle witness of his love for Bianca Lancia, the imperial palace of Lucera represented his stronghold, defended from the Saracens, his favorite bodyguards.

In fact, in the “Luceria Saracenorum”, as it was called in the Middle Ages, the emperor let the Arabs arrive from Sicily, giving them the possibility of self-government, building mosques and using their language and customs. Everything was then cancelled by the Angevins who destroyed the Swabian castle, replacing it with their fortress with high walls and circular towers. The great mosque was transformed into a cathedral with Gothic forms, like those of the church dedicated to San Francesco Antonio Fasani, the minor conventual whom John Paul II made a saint in 1985.

In the 18th century Cavalli Nicastri Palace, archaeological evidences from the Neolithic period are preserved, while the symbol of the Roman Lucera is the large amphitheatre built by the magistrate Marcus Vecilius Campus in honour of Octavian Augustus. A gem can be found in the Mozzagrugno Palace, seat of the Municipal House: the small Garibaldi Theatre decorated by Neapolitan artists who inspired the stuccoes of the Petruzzelli Politeama.

From Lucera, today famous for its oil and wine and for the cultivation of peppers with the characteristic three-pointed horn, Troia is not far, with its splendid Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. A true masterpiece in Romanesque style of the 11th century with its unique rose window with 11 rays that looks like a fine lace embroidered in stone and set in a fa├žade in which the two bronze doors of Oderisio da Benevento stand out: the Prosperity Door and the Freedom Door. The pride of the Treasure Museum of the Cathedral are the 3 Exultet, parchment scrolls of the eleventh and twelfth centuries in which theological truths are written and laminated by hand.

Biccari completes this tour of the Subappennino Dauno. The town has a well-kept historic centre with a characteristic bean shape. An important artery linking between Irpinia and Daunia, it develops its oldest part and gathers around the Byzantine Tower. Walking through the narrow streets it is impossible to resist the smell of the bread and the Pizza a furn apijert , at open oven De.Co. of ancient biccarese tradition, brushed with oil and sprinkled with garlic, oregano, salt and chilli pepper. Then a walk towards Cornacchia Mount , the highest in Apulia, and the Pescara Lake is enough to sober up, following the paths equipped for trekking and those of the Adventure Park.