Noci, approximately one hour from Casa Isabella, owes its name to the many walnut trees that once existed in the area and is located halfway between Bari and Taranto, on a pleasant hillside of the Murge.
The origin of Noci is ancient, dating back to 565 A.D. Conone, captain of the Emperor Justin II, erected a military citadel on the hill where Noci now stands in order to hinder the path of the Goths, and in 591 the Badia di Barsento was built for the monks of San Equizio.
The village grew around 1100, due to the arrival of the inhabitants of Mottola who had survived the sacking of their city by the governor of Taranto.
The inhabited centre is formed by an ancient part, characterised by narrow and winding streets and grouped around the Mother Church, and by a more recent part, with wide and regular streets flanked by a rich variety of trees (oaks, pines, lime, etc.).
The Abbey is the headquarters of the restoration centre for ancient manuscripts, an internationally known centre. The tourist route leads to the CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DEL BARSENTO erected in a dominant position, on the summit of a hill overlooking the Canale di Pirro 440 metres above sea level.
Continue then to the CHIESA MATRICE: built in the XIV century at the behest of Philip of Anjou and variously remodelled. Dedicated to Santa Maria della Natività, the church has a new structure, different from the original Gothic style, characterised by a classic tympanum and a remarkable bell tower.
Inside there are small masterpieces: the polychromatic baptismal font (unknown, 14th century), the sculptural group of the Madonna and Child by Stefano da Putignano, a wonderful crucifix of baroque workmanship, 14 large canvases of the Way of the Cross of the Neapolitan school with light Caravaggio tones; in the presbytery there is the valuable polyptych (9 Saints) in local stone and wood.
You can also visit the SANCTUARY OF THE MADONNA DELLA CROCE: inside there is a fresco by an unknown author of the sixteenth century with Mary and Child.