The birth of Borgo Terra

How it was built

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The layout of "new towns" proceeded with the choice of a location in which to build the town, which was then divided into lots for houses and gardens, following a module which determined the measurements of squares, roads, blocks (insulae), house plots (placae) and the town walls, which in some cases were erected after the town itself. The building of the new settlement was the responsibility of the locator, who had a mandate from the lord to settle the colony and who was also in charge of each phase of execution, from town planning to tracing it on the ground, down to the assignation of each single plot. The Terra di Muro, orthogonal and set on cardinal points, dates back to the mid 15th century.

'Protograffita' pottery (late XVth century) Click here to enlarge

Within the moat and the town walls, which were probably just under 8 metres high and made in part by salvaging blocks from walls of the Messapian period, roads and house plots were laid out so as to accommodate agricultural labourers and their families from the nearby villages. There would also have been several people with specialised roles, such as the blacksmith and the parish priest. The church would have stood in the middle of the Terra, annexed to the square where the market was held, as at that time real shops existed only in big cities. Seasonal fairs, especially of livestock, would have been held outside the walls.

The advantage of this new form of "closed" village came from the greater degree of control that the feudal lord could exercise on his workforce, on production and on the ability to defend the settlement, when compared to the previous type of “open” villages.