Ministry of Culture
General Directorate

Regional Directorate of Puglia Museums

Director Luca Mercuri
Via Pier l’Eremita, 25/B, 70122 Bari
+39 0805285231

Archaeological Park of Siponto

An archaeological area of ​​great importance that testifies to the importance reached by the ancient Siponto in Roman era (colony from 194 BC), when it assumed the role of one of the main ports of the Regio II.

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The building

After the swamping of the port and two violent earthquakes, in 1223 and 1255, Siponto was abandoned and the inhabitants moved to the nascent city founded in the second half of the 13th century by the son of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, King Manfredi, and named Manfredonia in his honor or, under the subsequent Angevin dominion, Sypontum Novellum. The remains of the early Christian Basilica with three naves and a central apse with a mosaic floor testify to the role of Siponto as the seat of one of the most important dioceses in the region. Precious mosaic floors related to the construction phase of the basilica (4th century AD) and its restructuring, can be seen inside the Medieval Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The Medieval Basilica, built between the 12th and 13th centuries, represents one of the most shining examples of Apulian Romanesque architecture. It has the shape of a cube topped by a small crypt in the center with an outside entrance. Materials from the older Siponto (columns, capitals) were reused for the construction and architectural decoration. We should note also the exquisite portal with archivolt, supported by two columns resting on the back of a lion.

Photo Gallery

Front elevation of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Siponto (11th-13th century).<br /> Crypt

Interior of the crypt of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Siponto.

Detail of the work of the contemporary artist Edoardo Tresoldi.

The Archaeological Area and the work of Tresoldi

Starting from 2016 in the Archaeological Park of Siponto, the project Dove l’arte ricostruisce il tempo, an innovative wire mesh installation by the young artist Lombard Edoardo Tresoldi which recalls, in the forms, the last phase of the ancient paleochristian basilica. Made of 4,500 meters of electro-welded galvanized mesh, the basilica of wire mesh is 14 meters high, and it weighs about seven tons. The courageous choice to create a contemporary dialogue between archeology and art is part of an overall vision of landscape conceived in its temporal complexity between testimonies of the past and actuality of the present. In the same year, the Archaeological Park of Siponto obtained the highest number of votes on the IV edition of the prize dedicated to the memory of Professor Riccardo Francovich and awarded from the Society of Italian Medieval Archaeologists (SAMI) to the Italian Archaeological Museum or Park that was able to represent the best synthesis between rigor of scientific content and communication effectiveness to a non-specialist public. The Basilica of Siponto was awarded the Gold Medal of Italian Architecture – Special Prize to the 2018 commission, the most important Italian architecture award established by Triennale di Milano in collaboration with Mibac.

Info and Contacts

Viale Giuseppe Di Vittorio, s.n.c. 71043 Manfredonia
Telephone: +39 080/5285213
Director: Annalisa Treglia

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