Epitaph of Altamura

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Epitaph of Altamura
Native name
Italian: Epitaffio di Altamura
Epitaffio di Altamura - Front view.jpg
Epitaph of Altamura
Nearest cityAltamura
Coordinates40°50′18″N 16°33′03″E / 40.838425°N 16.550767°E / 40.838425; 16.550767
HeightC. 4 m
Built1807 ca.

The Epitaph of Altamura (Italian: Epitaffio di Altamura) is a monument located in Altamura, Southern Italy, erected right after the visit in city, on 8 April 1807, of Joseph Bonaparte (the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte), who had just become king of Naples.[1] The commemorative epitaph is located in largo Epitaffio (Epitaph square). Although traditionally named epitaph, it is not a funerary inscription but a commemorative monument.


Joseph Bonaparte was coming from the city of Taranto and was returning to Naples, from where he had departed on 21 March of the same year. The representatives of the city of Altamura and a multitude of people went to meet and warmly welcomed Joseph Bonaparte, who stopped to greet the people in the square that was named largo Epitaffio. Joseph Bonaparte stayed in Altamura in the palace of count Viti, he received the hereditary title "Prince of Altamura" and then he left. On 9 April the king was in Venosa, and on 12 April he was already back in Naples.[2]


The monument originally contained an inscription, an imperial eagle symbol and a coat of arms. The inscription and the coat of arms were both erased following the restoration and the return of the Bourbons to Naples (1815) with Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.[2] The inscription is not readable anymore and the coat of arms is partly unrecognizable. According to local historian Ottavio Serena, the imperial eagle was still visible in the second half of the 19th century.[3]


  1. ^ storie-inedite p. 263
  2. ^ a b storie-inedite p. 264
  3. ^ storie-inedite p. 264 - La colonna e l'aquila si vedono anche oggi (Ottavio Serena)


  • Berloco, Tommaso (1985). Storie inedite della città di Altamura (in Italian). ATA - Associazione Turistica Altamurana Pro Loco.
  • A. Du Casse (1854). Mémoires et correspondence politique et militaire du Roi Joseph publiès, annotès et mis en ordre par A. Du Casse Aide De Camp de S. A. I. le prince Jérôme Napoléon (in French). third tome (2 ed.). Paris: Perrotin, Libraire-editeur. p. 333.