Outside Manfredonia, a small coastal town in Puglia on “the spur” of “the boot,” lies Siponto, an ancient port of Magna Graecia (the “Greater Greece” colonies before Roman conquest). Among the Ancient Greek and Roman ruins are the ruins of a 6th century Paleo-Christian church (right next to the still-standing 12th century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore).
Under the auspices of Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Archaeology Superintendence of Puglia, the area was justifiably turned into an archaeological park, no doubt worth visiting on its merits alone. So far, pretty normal.
Last year however, these agencies had the idea of commissioning a 28 year old Milanese artist, Edoardo Tresoldi, to use his signature welded metal mesh technique to “rebuild” the Paleo-Christian church.
Much study with archaeologists, complete architectural drawings of the no-longer existent church, 7 tons and 50,000 square feet worth of metal mesh, and three months of hard work later, and the following is the result.
Is it architecture? Is it restoration? Is it sculpture/art? A museum-like exhibit?
Personally, I would call it a game changer. It opens up a whole new world of engaging possibilities for archaeological display in Italy. Imagine Paestum for example, or the ruins in Taormina, Ostia Antica or a temple or two in the Roman Forum.
Whatever you decide to call it, Tresoldi’s incredible construction is one you won’t want to miss on your next Puglia trip.