This book is an historical and anthropological study of Locorotondo in the province of Bari in south-eastern Italy. It focuses on the unusual nature of peasant society in the region and attempts to explain how it came about. What distinguishes Locorotondo and the neighbouring towns is that peasants live dispersed in the countryside rather than in densely populated rural towns, the pattern more typical for southern Italy. The people are mainly small proprietor grape growers, and have traditionally been better off than other southern Italian peasants. The book traces the development pattern from the eighteenth century. Interweaving anthropological understanding with historical data, the author assesses its effect on family life, social structure, and the relationship between town and country.