Il Guercio delle Puglie
COUNT OF CONVERSANO
Giangirolamo Acquaviva d’Aragona, nicknamed the Guercio of Puglia (“one-eyed” or “squinter”), was Count of Conversano from 1626 to 1665: seen as a courageous, severe and vengeful individual by his subjects, he improved the life of his peasants. Patron of the arts, he strongly believed that the arts in general could be an important form of communication, for this reason he commissioned the painter Paolo Finoglio to design and decorate churches and castles of his county with paintings and tapestries depicting him in war scenes.
In 1649 he was accused of feudal abuses by the Spanish authorities and jailed until 1665. During his imprisonment, his wife Isabella Filomarino held the regency of Conversano showing her ability to reign. Giangirolamo was released in 1665 : the same year he died and was buried in the Chapel of the Rosary of the Benedictine Monastery in Conversano.