The origins of Barletta dating back to IV-III century BC when, with it’s first urban settlements, it became the port of Canosium, known today as Canosa di Puglia. Soon, in 216 BC, the nearby village of Cannae was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Second Punic War, in which the Romans suffered a heavy defeat by Hannibal. The other important historical event for which the city is mentioned in history books, dates back to a more recent past, just to 1503, when the famous Challenge of Barletta took place. As part of the war between Spain and France it was that the latter unjustly offended the honor of the Italians, calling them "without faith, soldiers cowards and traitors." Captain Hector Fieramosca, head of 13 Italian knights, defended the honor besmirched by the French Archbishop Guy de La Motte fighting and winning of 13 riders in a French official challenge, conducted in a fair and level playing field. At the end of this "challenge" the French had to declare their loyalty made by recognizing not only the Italian weapons. In 2005, the Region Apulia Barletta has awarded the recognition of "art city" for it’s architectural heritage. Of particular interest are: the Cathedral dedicated to St. Maria Maggiore (one of the four Palatine churches of Apulia), the Castle of Norman origin (uilt in 1234 by the Swabians), la cantina della disfida (the cellar of the challenge), the famous bronze Colossus (4.50 m. High) that was brought from Constantinople in Barletta. To visit the Palazzo della Marra (beautiful century structure houses the Picture Gallery De Nittis) and around the town, the Shrine of Our Lady of Sterpeto inside which is a table of a Byzantine Madonna.