Molfetta is a town of almost 60,000 inhabitants.
Over time, many peoples passed from Molfetta, from the Byzantines to the Lombards, from the Saracens to the Swabians. Frederick II of Swabia named Molfetta "royal city". During the period of the Crusades, Molfetta acquired notoriety as a renowned stop during the journey to the Holy Land.
There were also numerous artists that the city gave to the world, among all: the painter Corrado Giaquinto, the sculptors Giulio Cozzoli and Filippo Cifariello, the composers Luigi Capotorti and Angelo Inglese, the philosopher Pantaleo Carabellese and the writer and poet Dino Claudio.
Molfetta enjoys a mild and comfortable climate in the spring and autumn months. In summer, temperatures can reach and exceed 30 °C during the day, but the city offers numerous free-to-use beaches and lidos.
It is about 25 km north-west of Bari.
The nearest airport is Bari Palese.
From the A14 motorway, exit at Molfetta and turn left onto Provincial Road 112.
From the SS 16 Adriatica, take the Molfetta Nord, Molfetta Centro or Molfetta Sud exit.
- 1 Molfetta station. It is on the Lecce-Bologna Adriatic line , where the regional trains from Bari and Barletta stop.
Most of Molfetta's points of interest are located near the Borgo, and can all be visited on foot. The historic centre, Piazza Municipio and Banchina Seminario are ZTL: only residents' vehicles or those with a permit can access them.
Urban public transport is provided by 5 bus lines.
- 1 The Pulo of Molfetta, Contrada Pulo (about 1.5 km SW of the centre), ☏ . A characteristic karstic collapse sinkhole created by the collapse of the vault and the dividing walls of one or more caves and tunnels formed starting from distant geological times and forming part of a complex karst system consisting of the confluence and intersection of several karst wells which originated precisely in that place from a series of geological coincidences.
- 2 Archaeological Civic Museum of Pulo (Museo civico archeologico del Pulo), Via Mayer (in the Casina Cappeluti). Housed a restored building from the early 19th century, it exhibits various finds from various archaeological excavations, carried out since 1997 in the Neolithic village of the Azzollini Fund and in the nearby Pulo. The collection includes a selection of ceramics, lithic industries and fragments of the huts, dating back to the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, accompanied by captions, images and reconstructions. There are also some ceramic containers of the local 18th-century factories, which refer to the period in which the sinkhole was used as a saltpetre quarry.
- 3 Cathedral of San Corrado (Duomo di San Corrado), Largo Chiesa Vecchia (on the edge of the ancient village of Molfetta, facing the port). Built between 1150 and the end of the 13th century, it is a singular example of Romanesque-Apulian architecture. The Cathedral was dedicated to Maria SS. Assunta and was the only existing parish in Molfetta until 1671. In 1785 the seat of the Cathedral was transferred to the present Cathedral of Maria SS. Assunta in Cielo and since then the Old Cathedral took the name of the patron San Corrado.
- 4 Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta), Corso Dante, 7. Its majestic facade was completed in 1744 after years of work started in 1610 and continued in the eighteenth century. On the façade, at the top, there is a large marble statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. It became a Cathedral in 1785, as the Cathedral of San Corrado had become insufficient for the increased population.
- 5 Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs (Basilica della Madonna dei Martiri), Piazza Basilica. The construction of the primitive nucleus of the church (corresponding, in today's layout, only to the area occupied by the high altar) began in 1162. Around 1830 the building underwent significant changes.
- 6 Dogana Palace (Palazzo Dogana), Banchina Seminario. Palazzo Dogana stands on the edge of the ancient village, facing the port. Over time it has been the seat of the Episcopal Seminary, then moved to its current location, and of the customs. After several years of neglect, the construction site that will transform the building into a luxury hotel was started in 2017.
- 7 Palazzo Giovene (Palazzo Giovene), Piazza Municipio. Palazzo Giovene is a sixteenth-century building located in Molfetta, today the seat of the municipal administration. Built by the "de Luca" family it then passed to the "Esperti" family who in 1772 gave it to the "Giovene". The building houses the seat of the Municipal Council, and a Contemporary Art Gallery where works by important local artists are kept. On the ground floor is a collection of models in medium-large scale of the most characteristic means of transport pulled by horses that were typical of the territory before the spread of the automobile.
- 8 Diocesan Museum, Via Vescovado. The Museum-Picture Gallery of Molfetta is located in the premises of the Episcopal Seminary, in the historic center of the city. The museum houses finds from various excavation campaigns carried out in the wake of the " nineteenth-century enthusiasms ", in the Pulo di Molfetta and in other surrounding archaeological sites.
- 9 Civica Siloteca "Raffaele Cormio", Piazza Municipio. Created in 1998 in memory of Raffaele Cormìo (1883-1952), a xylologist of Molfetta origin, it is a museum, unique in southern Italy, dedicated to the tree and to wood in its physical and technological characteristics, in the alterations and defects.
- 10 Contemporary art collection "Leonardo Minervini", Piazza Municipio. Set up in 1996 in the Palazzo Comunale, the collection includes about 60 works by artists, many from Molfetta. Alongside internationally renowned masters, such as Renato Guttuso, the exhibition includes works by artists from Molfetta starting with Michele and Liborio Romano, Franco d'Ingeo, Natale Addamiano, Franco Valente, Michele Paloscia and Anna Rita Spezzacatena. An entire room is dedicated to Leonardo Minervini where 11 paintings are exhibited including the " Portrait of Minervini " made by his master Carlo Siviero in 1936.
- Permanent Ethnographic Exhibition of the Sea, Via San Domenico, 56. In the underground rooms of the Fabbrica di San Domenico, the evocative "Neviera", you can visit an exhibition that reconstructs the ancient relationship of Molfetta with the sea between the Middle Ages and the contemporary age. A relationship that became particularly vital in the nineteenth century, when the local shipbuilding industry acquired importance with the development of the merchant port and with the expansion of fishing activity. The skill of Molfetta's shipwrights, who produced trabaccoli and racks, was also recognized outside the region. The collection showcases numerous work tools of shipwrights, drawings and models of ancient and current boats.
- 11 Popular Pietà Museum (Museo della basilica di Santa Maria dei Martiri), Piazza Basilica. It includes a remarkable collection of ex-votos and many other objects deriving from donations from private citizens, including statues and paintings, nativity scenes from all over the world. There are also the vestments and missals of the celebrations for the elevation to the Papal Basilica by Cardinal Mayer and Don Tonino Bello.
Molfetta's gastronomy is very vast, it includes simple, rustic dishes, and more refined dishes, designed to conquer the interest and pleasure of gourmets. As Molfetta is a maritime city, traditional Molfetta dishes can only be based on fish; among these we remember the famous one which consists of a soup of fresh boiled rock fish together with a sauté of fresh tomatoes, garlic and parsley in extra virgin olive oil .