Bari - Former Convent San Francesco della Scarpa

Former Convent San Francesco della Scarpa


via Pier l'Eremita, 25 - 70122Bari 

Tourist Information

Tel 39 080 5285 111 Fax 39 080 5285 214



The convent is located in Bari, on the border of the old town and on the northwest side of the sea.

The archaeological survey, which was initiated during a restoration period in the 70s, has underlined the early human settlement of the area.

In 1220, the Dottula family granted the Minor Friars the St. Catherine's chapel. This included a large area that over time developed the structure of the monastery.

The church dedicated to St. Francis, was conceived as an extension of the chapel of St. Catherine. After a period of inactivity, it was completed between 1306 and 1321.

The church has an iconographic structure, with a unique aisle, a choir, a ribbed stone cross, an ogival vault, and originally a timber truss roof. There are four corner columns surmounted by capitals with different drawings and decorative phytomorphic details.

On the left side of the apse, there are two rooms connected to a classroom. Both are cross vaulted and marked by four ribs resting on corbels placed at the end of the windows.

The chapel, formerly dedicated to St. Catherine, is included in the new religious building on the right side of the apse. A few tracks indicate that the walls were most likely used to raise a bell tower.

The building included a chapel and a refectory with an attached kitchen. With the advent of the dynastic lineage, Anjou-Durazzo (1380-1442) enabled the construction of the wing adjacent to the sacristy and started developing from the Southeast to Northwest side.

During that period construction of the monks’ dormitory were completed, as well as, the construction of a wing overlooking the sea on the northwest side.

In 1436, the Order of Friars Minor arrived inBari. Since that time, we began to distinguish between the Minor (who wore clogs) and Minor Conventual.

The construction of the quadrilateral cloister began in 1511.

Restoration after the earthquakes of 1631 was officially celebrated in 1672. On this time, the church was rebuilt and re-dedicated. In 1715, the chapel of St. Catherine was restored and adapted to the raise the bell tower.

The decline of the complex started when they built a military complex. First for the French from 1798-1815 and then the Bourbon from 1815-1860. The military continued to use the property until 1943, when it was requisitioned by the Allied Military Command to house the British troops. It was severely damaged by a cargo ship explosion on April 9th, 1945. Later on, the building became the central repository for refugees.