AUGUST
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Geographically considered as the natural door of Gargano, Manfredonia, founded right after 1250 by the “biondo, bello e di gentile aspetto” (“comely and fair, and gentle of aspect”) Manfredi of Swabia, son of Frederick II, is the territorial overture of the Gargano promontory. Built on the ruins of the ancient Sipontum, founded by the Homeric hero Diomedes, later conquered by the Romans and bridge for boarding from and to the East, Manfredonia is a gem set between the foaming blue waves of the Adriatic Sea and the Mountain of the Sun.

The town - from the urban and artistic points of view - has preserved, despite lootings and dominations, some visible traces of its history. A significant symbol of its Swabian origins is the Castle, built by Manfredi in the XII century and since the 60s the seat of the national Archaeological Museum which preserves, among its many archaeological beauties, the Daunian Steles, funerary steles in calcareous stone which belonged to the civilization of the Daunians. In addition to the castle, the town presents itself with a path where historical art and the typically Apulian beauty get together and confuse with each other in a path rich of small urban beauties.

The Duomo, dedicated to Saint Lorenzo Maiorano, has a significant value. It preserves some works which can be attributed to Byzantine art, among which is the Marian icon of the Madonna of Siponto. There is also the small but nice church of San Francesco with its Gothic style and paintings dated back to the seventeenth century by Neapolitan painter Licinio, the church of Santa Chiara with its golden baroque style and its eighteenth-century canvases and the church of San Benedetto and San Matteo. The place which houses the municipal seat is also valuable, the Cloister of Palazzo San Domenico, a former monastery built toward the end of the thirteenth century by Charles of Anjou. It contains, in addition to the cloister, the suggestive apse of the “Mary Magdalene Chapel” with its fourteenth-century frescos which depict biblical themes.

Finally, going back to the primordial origins of the town, on the State Road 89, which connects Manfredonia to Foggia passing through the ancient Siponto, on the left side, there are two admirable examples of religious architecture. The first is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore of Siponto, a representative cornerstone of the Romanesque style in Apulia. Founded on the ruins of the ancient Roman sanctuary, the Basilica preserves the remains of a worship building dated back to the IV century A.D.. Since 2016 the remains of the Early Christian Basilica have been revived thanks to the flair of the young artist Edoardo Tresoldi who, with 4,500 square meters of electro-welded mesh and 7 tons of iron, has re-created the original volumes of the church in an ethereal and three-dimension work. On the other hand, the second is the Abbey of San Leonardo in Lama Volara, an important complex which testifies to an intense monastic activity of some important Religious Orders. The material heritage of Manfredonia is enriched by the remains and finds of Coppa Nevigata, Grotta Scaloria, hypogea of Siponto and Capparelli hypogea, while the immaterial one, linked to its traditions, includes a very colourful Carnival and a long and emotional devotional procession to the Madonna of Siponto.


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foto di Bruno Mondelli