The origins of Grottaglie (from Latin: “Cryptae aliae” = several, different grottos) should be searched in the rupestrian settlements that scattered in this area since Palaeolithic period. First human groups gradually left the depths of the “gravine”(canyons) to reach the isolated hills where they settled down their fortified villages, among them ”Cryptalearum hamlet”, that is the early nucleus of the current old historical centre of Grottaglie. During the following centuries, the feud changed its laic owners many times and it was place of several riots. The first urban expansion out of the town walls was brought about a widespread feeling of political bewilderment and the emerging brigandage; since the Unification of Italy the historical events of Grottaglie have been similar to those happened in many small towns of Southern Italy.
Grottaglie is placed on the top of a hill in the territory of the province of Taranto. It is about 20 Km far from Taranto with 32,000 inhabitants who live on a surface of about 100 km2.
Two are the most important economic sectors: agriculture – high quality white grapes are produced here – and ceramic handcraft works - represented in the old “area of Ceramics” made up of more than fifty workshops dug in the rock where highly appreciated ceramic artefacts are still produced.
Near the town, there is the airport “Marcello Arlotta”and the Hi-Tech industry of the “Alenia Aeronautics” group which produce fuselages for the 787 Boeing airplanes.
In the town there are many important historical buildings. Many of these are dated back to the XIVth century such as: the Bishop’s Castle, where you can find the Museum of Ceramics, and the Collegiate Church; The Hermitage in St Mary in Campitelli (IX century) , the Church of Carmine (XVI century); The Sanctuary of St. Francesco de’ Geronimo – the Saint born in Grottaglie and Patron of the town; The Church of St. Francesco di Paola (XIX century) and the old Sanctuary of the Madonna di Mutata.