la zona archeologica dall'alto
Prospetto meridionale
Prospetto meridionale

The area of S.Pietro is an integral part of the Museum. Adjacent to the the western facade of the monastery of S. Scolastica it can be accessed directly from the Bastion or from piazza S. Pietro.

The area has undergone archaeological excavations several times: the first digs in 1912, under the supervision of Michele Gervasio, director of the Archaeological Muse- um of the Province of Bari, during the works conducted in the Consortial Hospital (that used to stand here) for the construction of a new wing. Later, after the demolition of the same building in 1969, in the 1980s (1984 and 1986) Nino Lavermicocca resumed investigations fruitfully through stratigraphic excavations as the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Puglia managed to contain, in accordance with state heritage regulations, attempts to turn the site into a sports field.

The results of his research con- fimed many of Gervasio’s intuitions, adding more information to the story of the site. But only in 2005 and then in 2012 more extensive research was begun, funded by the Province of Bari and by the same Soprintendence that took up the direction of the works with the aim of assessing the possibility of using the area for the construction of a new wing for the Archaeological Museum. This plan was soon abandoned given the important archaeological stratified structures that had been revealed and that dated back to Protohistory.

The large Bronze Age settlement of Bari, the earliest in the city, in its extension also comprised the areas of S. Scolastica and S. Pietro: stretches of red compact soils, already identified by Gervasio, with traces of burning and remains of the village are preserved in the deepest strata of the archaeological deposit.

The dense sequence of the settlement overlooking the sea, from the Iron Age through the Classical-Hellenistic period to the Ro- man period, is attested at Santa Scolastica as well as S. Pietro in the archaeological deposit and in the excavations left visible.

Obliterated by subsequent buildings, it finds confirmation in the most significant finds displayed in the large showcase in the section Archaeology of Bari in the Museum. One of the most valuable finds from S. Pietro is the gold ring with engraved gem dated to the Roman period. More evidence is provided by the foundations of the medieval church of S. Pietro Maggiore and of its following remakes, in particular the 17th-century version. The earliest one, dated to the 12th century, with three naves east-west oriented and a floor covered by calcareous squared or rectangular tesserae, was among the largest of the city due to its dimensions (m 27,5 x 15,7). Part of a contemporary burial ground with some cist graves containing multiple burials have survived in front of its facade. The following construction of the Franciscan convent, of which the cloister survives, involves radical changes, including the partial demolition and renovation of the earlier church. At the beginning of the 17th century the church undergoes another remarkable enlargement and modification, becoming now a single-nave church with a bell tower, which in old photos appeared to be the tallest of the city. A series of underground rooms covered with barrel vaults were re- served for the burials of noble families of Bari (ex. The Calefati grave).

In the 18th century the convent and the church of S. Pietro turn out to be among the most important places of the city. When the convent lost its function it first became home to the Liceo Cirillo, and then, after undergoing significant changes and additions, it housed the Sacro Monte di Pietà and finally the Consortial Hospital. The war events that involved the harbour of Bari in 1943 and the explosion of the English ship in 1945 resulted in the decay and abandonment of the hospital leading to the demolition of the complex in 1969.


Via Venezia n. 73 - 70122 BARI

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