Manfredonia

Italy

Manfredonia is a town with medieval origins in the southern part of the Gargano region of Apulia in south-east Italy, near the Adriatic coast. It is the “daughter” town of the ancient Greek – Roman city of ‘Sipontum’.

Manfredonia is a town and comune of Apulia, Italy, in the province of Foggia, from which it is 35 kilometres (22 miles) northeast by rail.

Manfredonia itself isn’t a major tourist destination, the nearby beaches and the resort of Siponto attract many holidaymakers each year, and a trip to Manfredonia is an interesting excursion.

HIGHLIGHTS

Manfredonia is situated on the coast, facing east, to the south of Monte Gargano, and gives its name to the gulf to the east of it. As of 2017 its population was 56,932.

Manfredonia Cathedral

At the entrance to the old town, along the Corso Manfredi (the main axis of the town) and the Via Campanile, you reach Manfredonia Cathedral, which was built by order of Archbishop Pietro Francesco Orsini in 1680 after the destruction of the ancient gothic Cathedral.

The original cathedral was destroyed by the Turks in 1620, after which reconstruction was slow. Hardship in the town at that time explains why the new version is more modest in size than the ancient Cathedral.

Further work on the cathedral was carried out in the 17th century when the Archbishop Vincenzo Maria Orsini (later Pope Benedict XIII) recovered the sacred relics, completed the façade and built the Bell (1677).

The interior of the Cathedral was decorated by the painter Natale Penati (1884-1955) and also has three important works of medieval art: the icon of “Madonna di Siponto”; a wooden statue of “Madonna with child” called The Sipontina; and a wooden 12th century crucifix from the Church of San Leonardo.

Manfredonia Churches

There are several other churches of interest to visit, including the Church of San Domenico. The ruins of the chapel here are in the style of the Swabians period of domination. After the death of Manfredi, the Anjou family completed the construction of the church towards the end of the 18th century at which tie it became a gothic style church with three naves and a rich portal, embellished by two column-bearing Lions.

In 1294 the convent of the Dominican Friars Preachers was built close to the Church – hence it was called San Domenico. Inside the church the most artistically important works are the paintings of the “Pietà” and the tree of “Jesse”, located in the old chapel, while along the side walls of the nave saints have painted on the marble altars.

Another church of interest is the Church of San Benedetto which consists of a large single nave, with side walls adorned by pairs of pilasters decorated with stucco. Along the walls there are four altars, accompanied by three paintings and a 17th century crucifix. The paintings depict St. Benedict, St. Lucia and the Assumption (artists unknown). The only paintings signed and dated in the church (1767) are those of the side walls of the presbytery representing the Annunciation and the Holy family, by the Italian painter F.S. Serio (18th century).

The Church of San Francesco was built in 1348 by Archbishop Peter II, who introduced the order of the Friars Minor to Manfredonia. The church interior holds a 17th century wooden crucifix and a 17th century painting  of “The Nativity” by Bernardo and Giulio Licinio.

The Church of Santa Chiara was consecrated in 1680 by Cardinal Orsini. Along the side walls of the nave three large arches open to the right and left, below which there are five Baroque altars: four of these are covered with polychrome marbles and the fifth is engraved wood.

Other sights in Manfredonia

The city centre is in and around the Piazza del Popolo, overlooked by the Town Hall, the former monastery of San Domenico, which incorporates the remains of the old chapel, built by Charles II of Anjou (1285-1309).

The building retains its original façade, an arched portal with two lions (1294-99) and the frame of a rosette (restored) while the inside is decorated with contemporary paintings.

Manfredonia Castle was started by King Manfred between 1256 and 1259 and was finished under Charles of Anjou. It has a quadrilateral tower and four angular towers (three cylindrical and one quadrilateral), the latter towers being added in the 16th century.

The fourth tower, facing towards the city, was replaced by a pentagonal bastion after the siege of 1528 and is designed to support artillery shots. Restored in the 20th century, the castle is now the seat of the National Archaeological Museum of the Gargano.

Manfredonia is of course a seaside resort with everything you would expect to find: all you have to do is choose from the many beaches on the gulf and along the coast towards Mattinata. Plus, from the port you can head off on a cruise to visit the Marine Caves and the Tremiti Islands.

Geography

Manfredonia is located in south of Gargano. It borders with the municipalities of CarapelleCerignolaFoggiaMonte Sant’AngeloSan Giovanni RotondoSan Marco in Lamis and Zapponeta.

It counts 7 civil parishes (frazioni): Borgo Mezzanone, Riviera Sud (Sciali and Ippocampo), Pastini, Ruggiano, San Salvatore, Siponto and Tomaiuolo.

Main sights

The medieval castle, begun by the Hohenstaufen and completed by the Angevins, and parts of the town walls are well preserved. The castle received a new line of walls in the 15th century

In the church of San Domenico, the Chapel of the Maddalena contains old paintings of the 14th century.

Three kilometers (1.9 miles) to the southwest is the former Siponto Cathedral, now the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore di Siponto, built in 1117 in the Romanesque style, with a dome and crypt.

The Abbey of San Leonardo in Lama Volara, nearer to Foggia, belonging to the Teutonic Order, is of the same date.Detail of decorations in the Abbey of San Leonardo in Lama Volara

Manfredonia is also the location of the seat of the Archbishopric of Manfredonia-Vieste-S. Giovanni Rotondo in Manfredonia Cathedral, rebuilt in about 1600 after the destruction by the Turks of its 13th-century predecessor.

Contact

Manfredonia
email
protocol@comunemanfredonia.legalmail.it
address
Piazza del Popolo 8 - 71043 Manfredonia
phone
0884 / 519.200