Acquaviva delle Fonti

Palazzo de Mari

Palazzo de Mari

The first settlement of Acquaviva’s dates back to the 4th century in an area called Salentino, not far from the present-day town. Its name, however, comes from an area at an elevation of 300 meters that crossed a fertile plain rich in spring water and with a perennial aquifer. The present-day town developed here. It was called thus until 1863, when “delle Fonti” was added.

It was prosperous under the Normans, the period when construction was started on the Cathedral and the Castle. The castle would appear with the classic Norman design already known in other towns in Puglia, with a quadrangular plan with corner towers, which also had a square plan.

Only one of these towers has been structurally preserved; it faces the cathedral, the end part of which clearly appears to be from a later period. Later enlargements were certainly added during the Swabian period, but the major reconstructions and transformations into a typical residence of were done in the 16th century under the rule of the Acquaviva of Aragon family.

In 1664 Carlo I de Mari acquired the fiefdom of Acquaviva, and the following year he became Prince of Acquaviva, a title that the family would retain until 1806. The de Mari are an ancient and noble family of Genoese origin, and they were mainly “men of arms and of the sea,” as well as merchants and financiers.
Carlo I thus established his residence in Acquaviva, sealing it with the construction of a building that would incorporate the old Norman castle, which in fact was profoundly transformed, evolving towards the appearance and character typical of a noble palace.
The cornice with the recently restored masks on the south and west façades dates from the 18th century.