Mola di Bari
|Mola di Bari|
|Comune di Mola di Bari|
Aerial view of Mola di Bari
|Province / Metropolitan city||Bari (BA)|
|Frazioni||Cozze, San Materno|
|• Total||50 km2 (20 sq mi)|
|Elevation||5 m (16 ft)|
|• Density||520/km2 (1,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||San Michele; Maria Addolorata|
In recent times, the town was best known for having primarily whitewashed buildings, however, growth, modern construction, and building design have changed the image significantly, particularly in the northern (and more modern) part of the town.
Mola's city center is its main piazza, Piazza XX Settembre near the port and it also boasts a church (Chiesa Matrice, i.e. Mother Church) dating back to the thirteenth century.
Bakeries in Mola are known to make some of the finest focaccia in Italy. Until the early 1990s, there were two privately owned public firewood ovens available to the inhabitants of Mola, one located on Via Nino Bixio, on the southern part of the town, and the other located on Via Pesce, on the opposite side of the main Piazza. These businesses served the local residents by providing a place to cook baked goods, primarily focaccia and breads. Typically, focaccia pans were quite large (some approaching half a meter in diameter) and were difficult to cook in one’s home. The tradition of sending items to be baked by the local oven has passed.
Mola is also home to a large fishing industry that supplies fresh fish throughout the southern Italian region.
The old settlement of Neolithic people is confirmed by some archaeological remains. The origin of the city is not known entirely because of lack of sufficient traces to assert a Greek origin (coins now dispersed, with an old emblem showing the symbol of Athens) or Roman (with a Roman villa of the imperial period close to the northern coast and the remains of a water tank). The proof of the existence of an urban settlement remains scarce and contradictory up until 1277, when Charles I of Anjou ordered the reconstruction of the city along with the building of city walls, a church, and a castle.
After its re-foundation by Charles of Anjou in the XII century, Mola then passed its ups and downs and retained the status of city-state, almost continually, until the early fifteenth century. According to some local historians, this was a period of relative prosperity for the town, whose population recorded a significant increase. Virtually painless was the descent in Southern Italy of the Hungarian army of Louis I in 1348, to whom the local population immediately declared fidelity, saving the place from being looted, as it happened to other neighboring centres.
With the passage of the Kingdom of Naples from the Angevins to the Crown of Aragon, the indebtedness of the Crown determined the sale of state property to the creditors. Mola thus lost the status of a free city-state and was subjected to different feudal lords: the Gesualdo from 1417, the Maramaldo from 1435 and the Toraldo from 1464.
In 1495, with the arrival in Italy of Charles VIII of France to claim the Kingdom of Naples, Mola, along with other ports in Apulia, was ceded by the Aragonese to the Republic of Venice, in exchange for a huge loan. Venice wielded repeatedly the city, but was never able to conquer the city castle, which remained loyal to Naples. With the period of Venetian rule, which lasted until 1530, Mola strengthened ties with the other side of the Adriatic and recorded an overall economic progress.
Back again under the Toraldo family and then passed to the Carafa, in 1584 the people from Mola managed to collect the considerable sum of 50,000 ducats that allowed them to break free from the feudal yoke to be subject only to the royal property. Soon, however, the estate was bought by Antonio Carafa, a few years later forced to sell it at auction to pay his debts.
It was only later in 1670 when Mola was finally able to get rid of remnants of feudal power and to restore its original status within the Kingdom of Naples.
In order to defend the coast from pirate raids, together with the rebuilding of the town by its walls, Charles I of Anjou in 1277 ordered the construction of a palacium, entrusting the direction of the work to the famous royal carpenters Pierre d'Angicourt and Jean from Toul. The project was completed two years later. Between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the building followed the fate of the town and passed through the hands of various feudal lords, resisting numerous attacks without ever being taken. However the considerable damage with the Venetian siege of 1508 imposed a radical restoration, which took place a few years later on a military project by architect Evangelista Menga, who gave it its current form of star polygon. The mighty walls scarp, built in order to withstand an attack with firearms, were still equipped with numerous trap doors. A moat surrounded the building and communicated with the sea, while the castle was connected to the city walls by means of a bridge.
Dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari, it is located inside the old town, not far from the sea. Built in the late thirteenth century, presumably during the re-founding of the city by the Anjou, it was already in very poor condition in the sixteenth century. The Archbishop of Bari Girolamo Sauli therefore requested its reconstruction, which took place in the years 1547-1575 through the work of Dalmatian masters Francesco and Giovanni from Sibenik and John from Korcula. The building is a fine example of Adriatic Renaissance, although the Baroque extensions have altered the appearance of the apse and some chapels. Recent renovations have enhanced the rose window and the two portals, the Lions (on the left side) and Dwarfs bearing the door columns (in front). The interior space is divided into three naves, the lateral ones with vaults that characterize the overall style and the imposing Corinthian columns.
Mola di Bari is twinned with:
- Tivat, Montenegro, since 1969
- Pedrajas de San Esteban, Spain, since 2012
- Bomporto, Italy, since 2013
- Niccolò van Westerhout (Mola di Bari, 1857 – Naples, 1898). Musician and composer
- Piero Delfino Pesce (Mola di Bari, 1874–1939). Journalist and politician
- Onofrio Martinelli (Mola di Bari, 1900 – Florence, 1966). Painter
- Bruno Calvani (Mola di Bari, 1904–86). Sculptor
- Mario Battista (Mola di Bari, 1934 – Rome, 2000). Figurative painter and portraitist. He shared his career between teaching and painting.
- Vito Tanzi (Mola di Bari, 1935– ) Economist
- Costantino Padovano (Mola di Bari, Miami), music producer
- Joseph M. Calisi (Mola di Bari, New York City) international transportation photojournalist
Via Piero Delfino Pesce is a street running along the seafront on the north-western part of town. It is named after one of Mola's famous inhabitants listed above.
Via Giuseppe di Vagno is a street running parallel to the "lungomare", on the southeastern part of town. The street is named after Giuseppe di Vagno, a socialist politician who was killed by fascists after a political rally held in Mola di Bari in September 1921
Corso Umberto is a street that runs southwest, starting next to the church in the main Piazza, ending near Piazza degli Eroi (Piazza of the Heroes), also known as San Domenico
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mola di Bari.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Mola di Bari.|
- comune.moladibari.ba.it - Official Municipality Site
- - Ambient Councillor's Site and forums (update frequently)
- moladibari.com - News from Mola and forums (update frequently)
- "Lo Spiraglio" Local monthly newspaper
- Mola di Bari from Satellite (Google Local)
- Site on Doña Flor, van Westerhout's opera
- Article on the Mola di Bari community in the USA "The Other Mola", Tiziano Thomas Dossena, L'Idea.N.33, 2008