Gioia del Colle is located 360 metres above sea level and was originally built around a Byzantine castle which is considered one of the finest in this region. The castle has a large internal courtyard and two impressive towers built in red stone. The town is known as Gioia by the locals or even Scioo in dialect.
There is a famous legend tells the tale of the town's name and the story is that the Princess Bianca Lancia lost all her jewels when she was dragged into captivity by Frederik II and the jewels were never found again. The name 'Gioia' means 'jewel' and 'del Colle' means 'on the hill'.
Today Gioia is a typical Italian town with an old town centre with more modern areas as you move away from the centre. It is known today not for its princesses and jewellry but for its mozzarella - Fior di Latter and wine - Primitivo di Gioia del Colle. Another thing though, it is known as the actor Sylvester Stalone's Italian hometown and where his great-grandfather came from before he emigrated to New York at the beginning for the last century.
The towns own saint San Filippo Neri is celebrated every year on 26th May with a festive procession and lots of life in the streets. In August there is a religious (and commercial) celebration called Sagra della Mozzarella, and in September the same thing happens again, this time just to celebrate the local wine Primitivo.