Accadia, 650m above sea level, is a municipality in the Daunia Mountains. The Rione Fossi serves as the town’s historical memory, the location of its most ancient urban settlement, and architectural and historical evidence of an ancient agricultural civilisation. It was abandoned after the earthquake of 1930, and is today completely uninhabited. Local authorities have launched a programme of renovation and restoration, which is currently underway.
During the classical period, the area was considered sacred, filled with temples, pagan cenobiums and priests’ houses. In the Middle Ages and during the Norman-Swabian-Angevin-Aragonese period, it became a well-armed fortress whose fortifications defended the classical-era temples and their huge treasure troves. Local inhabitants lived on farms scattered around the fortress.
The old name of the district, Fossa dei Greci, was an erroneous translation of the Greek-Latin ‘Fossa Agroecorum’, which actually translates as Fosse degli Orfici (literally Ditches of the Orphics or the antisocial, for the Orphics were hermits). They lived in caves, of which some are still present today and, whilst alive, prepared simple ditches for their burial, into which the corpses were lowered with an oil lamp and wrapped in white winding cloths.
In Rione Fossi, the houses are separated by cobbled streets and winding alleyways, in a spiral shape and cluster around the Byzantine Chiesa Matrice of St. Peter and St. Paul. The historical centre also holds the remains of the ducal palace. Adjacent to the ancient Arch of Porta di Capo, which once served as the entrance, is a small piazza named for Chancellor Ranuccio Zannella, a heroic defender of Accadia during the siege of 1462.