Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore di Siponto

Manfredonia, Italy

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore di Siponto is a church in Manfredonia, Apulia. The church was completed around 1117, when it was consecrated (perhaps in place of a pre-existing 6th century Palaeo-Christian edifice) and the relics of Laurence of Siponto where put under the high altar.

The building has an unusual square plan, consisting of two independent churches (one, underground, is the current crypt), two apses on the southern and eastern walls, and a medieval monumental portal with two side lions, facing the road entering in Manfredonia.

The interior, with four pillars, dates to the 11th century, and once housed the icon of the Holy Virgin of Siponto, dated to the 7th century. The icon is now in the Manfredonia Cathedral, as well as the polychrome wood Byzantine statue of La Sipontina (6th century) The underground church dates to the early Middle Ages, and was replaced by the upper one after having been destroyed by an earthquake.



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Manfredonia, Italy
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Founded: 1117
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mary Nguyen (13 months ago)
Beside the castle and beautiful beaches, this church should be a non-missing destination when visiting Manfredonia. I don't know how old it is, but it's been standing there for millennium years and still stays remaining
Stefano Faggin (3 years ago)
Really well exposed
Yoss Valensi (4 years ago)
Small and nice place for a walking
Michel Disdero (4 years ago)
Thé wireframe reconstruction is awesome
Marco Ullasci (4 years ago)
The way they provided an understanding of how the building was in the past while at the same time preserving the archeological site is just fantastic and gives to visitors of different backgrounds the best possible experience of the site
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The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.

The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.

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The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.

The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.