De Cateniano Portico

In the museum, the form of reality in which memory lives beyond itself, the past is imposed on attention and manifests itself in memory. It is only in the museum that the Gods – the glorious and pathetic symbols of distant centuries – can interrupt the exile that has condemned them the simple aging of […]

In the museum, the form of reality in which memory lives beyond itself, the past is imposed on attention and manifests itself in memory. It is only in the museum that the Gods – the glorious and pathetic symbols of distant centuries – can interrupt the exile that has condemned them the simple aging of the world. The places of memory, in which it is kept and exhibited as it symbolizes and represents our culture and our history, tend to be understood no longer as closed spaces, dedicated to conservation, but as a social metaphor and as a means by which society represents his relationship with his own history and that of other cultures.

In the Provincial Museum “Francesco Ribezzo”, active since 1954, the most significant antiques collections of the city were merged with a progressive enrichment of the exhibition materials thanks to donations from private individuals and agreements with public and private bodies. On 19 April 2009, after a closure for renovations of over two years, the museum has been reopened to the public use completely redefined.

In it is the memory of the cultures that have been confronted with the territory over a period of time ranging from the earliest Paleolithic settlements attested on the Torre Testa area to the great Norman complexes like Sant’Andrea dell’Isola.

The Mediterranean dimension of the city, open door to the sea, is reflected in the epigraphic collections with Latin, Greek, Hebrew texts and references to merchants and travelers of various origins and origins. Ideas and goods traveled with men; the reconstruction of an onerous ship with its cargo of amphorae, of which Brindisi was a great center of production, visually translates the function and role of the city.

The museum is of great importance for all lovers of underwater archeology, as it preserves inside the bronzes of Punta del Serrone: these are the splendid statues of a toga and of Lucio Emilio Paolo, the winner of the battle of Pidna of 168 BC. , plus dozens of bronze artefacts recovered in fortuitous circumstances since 1972 and then during an excavation campaign conducted in the waters of Brindisi in 1992. All the bronzes, “framed between the Hellenistic age and the III century AD” they evidently came from the cargo of a ship and were probably destined for some foundry; a storm surprised the boat, sinking it or forcing it to get rid of the heavy load.

De Cateniano Portico

Pietro della Valle wrote about the city of Isfahan, that the main square of that city, was characterized by “large and full arcades under shops with different merchandise arranged by order to place to place; and above, with balconies and windows, with a thousand very vague ornaments “. This description effectively illustrates the function of urban porticoes, connections between buildings and the street in continuity with the urban space of which they are extension and part, in this case Piazza Duomo. In the portico and in each of its single spans, each building tends to become a meeting place, a commercial exchange, a warehouse of goods, and plays its part in defining the public decorum. In the portico of the De ‘Cateniano the apparent contradiction of the “… columns placed to bear arches” is repeated, that wall-column confusion reported by Leon Battista Alberti which in the historical city confronts directly with the different iconographic senses linked to the constant dialectic between the two elements. This central element of Piazza Duomo may well refer to what Francesco Milizia wrote about the function of architecture, since “founded on the necessary it follows clearly […]: that all of its beauty takes its character from the very […] need that the adorned deriving from the very nature of the building and resulting from its need […], nothing is therefore to be seen in a factory that does not have its office and is not an integral part of the factory itself “.

In the construction of the portico the use of reuse materials was not lacking; On 10 May 1880 Giovanni Tarantini rediscovered, after a century from Annibale De Leo, the inscription of Clodius Eutiche, published by Mommsen (CIL, IX, 265) on the basis of the archbishop’s apograph, “engraved in a sepulchral cippus of marble, which in quite time removed was placed as a stone of construction at some height in a wall of this orphanage of Santa Chiara […] and properly in that part that served as a civic hospital “. The archdeacon therefore saw it, not in the monasterio capucinorum, as reported by Mommsen, but where it is still present, that is, inserted in the portico of the Cateniano palace, “in area et planicie archiepiscopalis maioris ecclesi (a) e”,

¬†donated by Lucio, mayor in 1551-2 and in 1555-6, at the city’s poor hospital. This would have increased, on the eighteenth-century decline, with the donation, by Francesco Amorea Latamo, of his palace. The entire hospital complex, damaged by the allied bombers in the night between 7 and 8 November 1941, was demolished in 1948 to give rise to the building that currently houses the provincial museum; the only surviving piece is the portico of the Cateniano house, which may indicatively date back to the 14th century.