Via Duomo, 33, 74123 Taranto TA
Together with the church dedicated to San Domenico Maggiore, this convent is one of the most important examples of Angevin architecture in the city of Taranto. The structure was built in the area formerly occupied by the Byzantine church of San Pietro Imperiale. Today it’s the seat of the Archaeological Superintendency and it is built around a square cloister that has undergone multiple transformations over the centuries. The most represented historical phase is certainly the eighteenth century; in this period, in fact, the structure underwent very strong alterations that brought it to a state very similar to the current one.
The renovation works, as well as the change of use of the convent, transformed the religious environments into a barrack (between 1806 and 1809) which, afterwards, has been abandoned. These interventions have erased much of the medieval evidence.
There is also a pair of splendid mullioned windows, preserved from the Angevin phase, characterized by stone capitals decorated with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures that, in ancient times, directly overlooked the garden; this last one was also used for funerary functions, as documented by archaeological investigations and testified by the presence of the two sarcophagi in local carparo preserved in the green space.
Definitely interesting is the use of some blocks from the Roman age (dating back to the 1st century B.C.), as well as the jambs of the two windows which testify, also in this context, the medieval practice of reusing, attested in various monuments of the city.
Some faint traces of religious subjects are still visible on the eastern wall of the pictorial decoration that characterized the covered space.
The archaeological excavation (carried out during the last restoration and re-functionalization interventions) have brought to light some evidences of the Neolithic attendance, but also the remains of the foundation of a large place of worship from the Greek age (more than five meters high). The peristalsis (the perimeter walkway originally marked by columns) was preserved as well.
The sacred building, datable to the 6th century B.C. seems to have been very large. It retains traces of a restoration carried out during the fifth century. B.C.
On the first floor of the convent, which is accessible through a beautiful eighteenth-century monumental staircase, there are numerous rooms formerly used by religious people as places of dwellings and prayer.
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