LUCERA (pronounced Loosh-airer) makes a wonderful introduction to Puglia. A charming small town with a bright, bustling centre and a lively passeggiata on summer evenings, it was once the capital of the Tavoliere – a thriving Saracen hub. Frederick II, having forced the Arabs out of Sicily, resettled 20,000 of them here, on the site of an abandoned Roman town, allowing them complete freedom in religious worship – an almost unheard of act of liberalism for the early thirteenth century.

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