Parco Archeologico di Siponto
The Archaeological Park of Siponto is of special importance as evidence of the high position achieved by ancient Siponto during the Roman period, after the colony was founded in 194 BC.
An Archaeological Park of special importance as evidence of the high position achieved by ancient Siponto during the Roman period (colony founded in 194 BC), when it became one of the main ports of Regio II and then the seat of one of the most important dioceses in the region.
After the port turned into a marsh and two devastating earthquakes in 1223 and 1255, Siponto was abandoned and its residents moved to the new city founded by the son of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, King Manfred (second half of the 13th century), which was called Manfredonia and later, under Angevin rule, Sypontum Novellum.
The remains of the early-Christian, three-nave basilica with a central apse and mosaic floor stand as a reminder that Siponto was the seat of one of the most important dioceses in the region. Fine mosaic floors dating to the time when the early-Christian basilica was built (4th century AD) and its renovation in the subsequent century are preserved inside the medieval basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The medieval basilica, built between the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century, is one of the cornerstones of Romanesque architecture in Puglia. It has the shape of a cube topped by a small central dome and a crypt that is entered from outside. Between the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century, it was subject to major renovations. Materials from ancient Siponto (columns, capitals) were reused for its construction and decoration. The archivolt of the fine portal is supported by two columns resting on the back of a lion.
Since 2016, the Archaeological Park of Siponto has hosted Dove l’arte ricostruisce il tempo (Where Art Reconstructs Time), an innovative installation by a young artist from Lombardy, Edoardo Tresoldi. Made out of metal mesh, its forms evoke the the early-Christian basilica’s final building phase.
Composed of 4,500 metres of arc-welded galvanised mesh, the metal basilica is 14 metres high and weighs around seven metric tons. The bold decision to bring archaeology and contemporary art into dialogue is expressive of an overall vision that sees landscape as a site of temporal complexity combining evidence of the past and present reality.
In 2016, the Archaeological Park of Siponto received the highest number of votes in the fourth edition of the Riccardo Francovich Prize, awarded by the Society for Italian Medievalist Archaeologists (Società degli Archeologi Medievisti Italiani, SAMI) to the Italian museum or archaeological park that has achieved the most successful synthesis of rigorous scientific content and its effective communication to a non-specialist public.
Viale Giuseppe Di Vittorio, s.n.c.
Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities
Director: Francesco Longobardi