The memory of spring waters is consecrated in the etymology of the name Turia: Turi means “fountain,” for the waters in the locality of Frassineto. According to local archeology the area was frequented as early as the 6th century B.C., and it was in its greatest splendor during the Peuceta period, up until the 4th century BC. Allies of the Sannites and then of Rome, the Turesi took part in the Battle of Canne, where they fell.

Under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Conversano, in the 10th century it was a fiefdom with its own farmlands, walls and towers, and along with the Frassineto Canal it was under the command of a single lord.

This was the happiest time for Turi, when its Byzantine administrators left the people free to independently govern the castellum Turium, confident that they would do what was good for their land. After 1008, first Melus and later his son Argyrus tried to defeat the Byzantines with the help of the Normans who had arrived in Puglia, but it was only William of Hauteville who assumed the title of Count of Apulia in 1042, and later Turi passed to Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, maintaining his administration up to the rule of his nephew Godfrey. The Aragonese period was under Acquaviva of Aragon, then it passed to the Moles of Gerona barons and, lastly, to the Venusio of Matera marquises.

Just outside Turi on the road to Rutigliano one comes to the Church of Sant’Oronzo, built in 1727 over the cave of the same name. The cave was discovered almost a century earlier, in 1657, where according to tradition it was the place where St. Orontius of Lecce hid during the persecution of Christians. It was found after a girl dreamed exactly where to look for it. After the search for it was successful, she prayed to the Saint to stop the plague of 1657. After a period in which there was little devotion to the saint, it is said that there was an apparition, following which a wooden crucifix was placed outside the cave. The crucifix is still preserved today in the church.

It was only after this time that pilgrimages and a renewed devotion to the saint began to grow. The detaching of stalactites and stalagmites can be attributed to the many faithful who once reached the cave from the original difficult entrance and attributed medicinal powers to the rock. With the offerings of the devotees, in the 1700s it was possible to build the present-day monumental staircase with the three niches topped with small cupolas.
Today it is still possible to see the altar inside the cave, upon which a crucifix and two ampoules were found at the time of its discovery, but what is truly spectacular and rare are the 238 tiles laid on the floor of the cave, decorating it like a “carpet.”
These are Laterza ceramic tiles from the 1700s, each unique, in which at least two different hands can be distinguished: that of the master, with a slim, elegant, realistic line in the representation of animals, and the more stylized hand of his student in zoomorphic subjects.
The church has a Greek cross plan with a nave and two side aisles, and with lateral barrel vaults and a central drum upon which rests the dome. The sloping roof is covered with clay tiles, and the façade is typical of the 18th century.