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The golden legend of Galatina

The Del Balzo the Orsini and the Basilica of Santa Caterina

San Pietro in Galatina was one of the fiefdoms that constituted the County of Soleto, so, up to a certain time, the feudal lords of Soleto were also Lords of San Pietro in Galatina until, then, this center took over the others .

After the fall of the Norman and then the Swabian dynasties, the County of Soleto, and therefore also San Pietro in Galatina, was granted by Charles I of Anjou to Ugo del Balzo, who came to follow him from France. When Ugo died in 1308, he was succeeded by his eldest son Raimondo, who greatly expanded the city, surrounded it with walls and granted various privileges to the citizens: The first walls built in Santo Pietro, were built in 1334.
The name of the del Balzo, and then of the Orsini - del Balzo, intertwines and alternates with the name of Galatina, so that their history becomes the history of the city: "It was the institutions of the Orsini - del Balzo who acted as a ferment for gradual development that Galatina, although with ups and downs, has recorded from the three hundred to the present day.The supremacy that this city marks in the entrepreneurship and in the economy in general, on the whole area of ​​southern Lecce, finds its embrace in the age of Raimondello Orsini del Balzo. "
[A. Antonaci, "Galatina Storia e Arte", Galatina 1998].
The golden legend of Galatina

Since at his death Raimondo left no children, as he had all been rewarded, he assigned his fiefs to his nephew, Raimondello Orsini , who added the Balzo surname to his own and placed the Orsini weapon in that of the del Balzo.

In 1386 he married Maria d'EnghienBrienne from whom he had four children. The first-born Giovanni Antonio succeeded him, then, in the principality.
Prince Raimondello Orsini del Balzo was responsible for the construction, at the end of the fourteenth century, of the extraordinary church dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, a place of worship and at the same time a radiating center of artistic culture in Puglia in the last centuries of the Middle Ages. Next to the church there was a convent and a hospital, currently the Town Hall.
The golden legend of Galatina

The presence of the Orsini del Balzo and the ever-increasing power of what will become the "Staterello di Santa Caterina" [B. Perrone, "Neofeudalesimo and Civiche Università in Terra d'Otranto", Galatina 1978] give a noticeable boost to the economic activities of the city. As well, the presence of the Caterinian Basilica will always be the reference point of the whole Galatina development process, both in a religious and in a cultural, economic and social sense.