Siponto Basilica… redux

April 6, 2016 / Art & Archaeology
Manfredonia, Puglia

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.

(The images are are visible on Edoardo Tresoldi’s FB page or on Behance. Many thanks to Blind Eye Factory for their use!)




by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

20 Responses to “Siponto Basilica… redux”

  1. Marianna Raccuglia

    How imaginative! So different and intriguing. Congratulations to Mr. Tresoldi

  2. Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    I do love this – as a work of art as well as an exercise in understanding the space the building would have occupied. I don’t think one could do it for every archaeological site, but it’s a fascinating and bold experiment I’d love to see in the flesh! Thanks GB!

  3. Ann Waggoner

    Ethereal and captivating! I am sure that we will see more magic from this young archaeologist.

  4. Nina Sgriccia

    Beautiful in a strange, ethereal way, especially at night.

  5. Ginny Siggia

    It looks like the ghosts of the early church have gently dropped a blessing net over the new model. It is breathtaking, quite the most astonishing architectural and historical rendition of anything I have ever seen. Bravo!!

  6. Antoinette Lepore

    Incredible talent and work of art. I’m in awe :)

  7. Victoria De Maio

    I can only repeat all of the comments above and add my “WOW!” – ingenious, fascinating and wonderful! To re-imagine these structures in this unique way…yes, so many possibilities. Grazie and it is on my list for my next Puglia visit!

  8. Linda Boccia

    Wow and another wow! What an imaginative way to add illusion, mystery and intrigue to ancient structures. Without destroying the originals this artist has envisioned new forms that seem both airy and ethereal. I love them!!! The winery where I work makes Primativo which comes from Puglia, although the vines are grown now in California.

  9. Marian

    Absolutely fascinating! As said by a comment before I’m not sure it’s applicable to every ancient monument. I don’t think I would like to see Taormina’s Greco/Romano antique theatre rebuilt this way but it’s certainly innovative and very delicate, almost like a cleverly woven spider’s web

  10. Congratulations to the architect, Edoardo Tresoldi, for adding the concept of “memory” to the new construction without encroaching on the old building’s character.

  11. Jack Litewka

    A fabulous public art and archeology project. Thanks for the head’s-up.

  12. Myriam Altieri-Haslinger

    Super cool! As to whether it is a sculpture, an installation or a living museum I would say all of the above! Thank you so much for your very interesting and captivating blogs from up and down the Peninsula.

  13. David Bridges

    Wow! It is a game changer. I would add that this kind of artistic work is very Italian” It gives the observer a kind of historic, spiritual, and contemporary feel all at once. Genius, I would say

  14. Anne Robichaud

    No words to describe – but then again, this is Italy, “land of the endless wonders.”
    An area of Puglia we had not explored: it’s at the top of the list now.
    Mille grazie, GB.

  15. sylvia ross

    a visit from past ghosts….mind bogling and beautiful…can we walk inside the structure?


Leave a Reply to Ginny Siggia

Click here to cancel reply.