Mola di Bari

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Bari (disambiguation).
Mola di Bari
Comune
Comune di Mola di Bari
Aerial view of Mola di Bari
Aerial view of Mola di Bari
Coat of arms of Mola di Bari
Coat of arms
Mola di Bari is located in Italy
Mola di Bari
Mola di Bari
Location of Mola di Bari in Italy
Coordinates: 41°4′N 17°5′E / 41.067°N 17.083°E / 41.067; 17.083Coordinates: 41°4′N 17°5′E / 41.067°N 17.083°E / 41.067; 17.083
Country Italy
Region  Apulia
Province / Metropolitan city Bari (BA)
Frazioni Cozze, San Materno
Area
 • Total 50 km2 (20 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population [1]
 • Total 25,919
 • Density 520/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Molesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 70042
Dialing code 080
Patron saint San Michele; Maria Addolorata
Website Official website

Mola di Bari, commonly referred to simply as Mola, is a town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Bari, in the region of Apulia, in Southern Italy, on the Adriatic Sea.

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,[2] on the southern part of the town, and the other located on Via Pesce,[3] 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.

History[edit]

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.

Landmarks[edit]

Angevin Castle

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.

Picture gallery[edit]

Famous people[edit]

  • 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.[4]
  • 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

Main streets[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Population from ISTAT
  2. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. 
  3. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. 
  4. ^ Anna Mola (a cura di) Mario Battista Pittore Molese, Edizioni Associate, Roma, 2003.

External links[edit]