The imposing bastion of Santa Scolastica, overlooking Largo Nino Lavermicocca-lungomare Imperatore Augusto, constitutes the monumental “sea gate” of the Museum.

Its construction is linked to the memory of the duchess of Bari and queen of Poland Bona Sforza (1494-1557), who, upon the death of her mother Isabel of Aragon (1524), carried out her mother’s ambitious plan to renovate and reinforce Bari’s curtain walls, having in particular the bastion of Santa Scolastica and the bastion of Sant’Antonio built for defensive purposes.

The construction of the military bulwark involved drastic modifications of the preexisting medieval monastery, including the “immolation” of one of the two churches, the earliest one strategically located in the shelter of the curtain wall.

Only the floor and the foundations of this church, dated between the end of the 10th and 11th century, can be seen today as the result of excavations carried out in the 1970s.

Its layout was established by the latest excavation and restoration work conducted in the bastion. The church was 16,50 metres long and 10,40 metres large, east-west orientated, with a three-arched portico against the facade and divided into three absidal naves closed by a rectilinear wall.

The central squared bay must have been covered by a dome, while the other two bays of the central nave featured barrel vaults. The side naves were covered instead by rampant half barrel vaults. The beautiful floor, covered by stone tesserae of various geometrical shapes arranged in geometric patterns has parallels in numerous churches built in Bari during the Byzantine period.

A system of walkways, equipped with crystal parts, extends through the bastion and enables visitors to admire from above the floor of the earlier church along with its annexed burial area as well as the archaeological stratification lying below, from the strips of the Bronze Age soil to the stretches of the 4th century curtain wall incorporated into the fortification of Byzantine period.

While the grave lying in the centre of the presbiterial area, in a privileged position, without the original slab that used to cover it, has been attributed to Abbess Amberta, deceased in 1456, the fine sarcophagus now placed near the church evokes the figure of Guisanda Sebaste, ruler of the Monastery three centuries before her.

I reperti all'interno del bastione
Gli elmi all'interno del bastione
Il percorso vetrato all'interno del bastione


Via Venezia n. 73 - 70122 BARI

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