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Childhood home of Niccolò Piccinni

Vico Fiscardi - 6010 - 70122
Current use Museum
The composer Niccolò Piccinni was born on January 16th, 1728, in a house located in the heart of the old town. A small side section of the building overlooks Piazza Mercantile, while the larger front part faces onto Vico Fiscardi.
The ground floor entrance off Piazza Mercantile leads to four interconnecting rooms, while the steps on Vico Fiscardi lead to the first floor, where five more interconnecting and partitioned rooms are located. The second floor is accessed through stair ramps that develop off the sides of a rectangular light well, and lead to the terrace. The second floor layout is the same as that of the first floor.
A profile view of the Piccinni house outlines three different terrace levels, corresponding to three different sections of the longitudinal body of the house. Indeed, the central body of the building consists of the remains of an original quadrangular medieval tower to which two extensions constructed with different building materials were later added.
The first section of the building, which is accessed from Piazza Mercantile, was added in the second half of the 19th century, while the addition of the third section, most probably obtained by covering an old alley, is difficult to date. The bottom of this section, called " cloister " shows traces of an ancient archway that probably used to connect the hind road of the Arch of Sant 'Onofrio.
Casa Piccinni (The Piccinni House) has recently been refurbished thanks to an agreement stipulated between the City of Bari and the Conservatory of Bari, which bears the musician’s name. The aim was to restore the building to its original historical value and transform it into a " container of art and culture", and a Music Research Centre.
The desire to refurbish and restore the building attests to the deep affection the city of Bari nurtures for the musician. As a matter of fact, the Municipal Theatre, the Music Conservatory, and a major downtown street bear the composer’s name.
Previous buildings Medieval tower house
The 1753 Land and Property Registry of Bari declares that the “penniless, violin teacher” Onofrio Piccinni, father of the famous Niccolò, was a tenant in the building in 1738. Since the musician was born on January 16th, 1728, it is not certain whether he was actually born within the walls of this house. However, what is certain is that he spent a part of his childhood years here before moving to Naples, to attend the Conservatory, and then on to Paris.
The building was owned by a shop-owner named Alessandro Petroni, and later purchased by the Discalced Carmelites, also known as the Barefoot Carmelites. In 1954, Gaetano Stella, a sculptor and tenor of Bari and last private owner of the building, sold it at a nominal price to the city of Bari so that it could become a museum to house Niccolò Piccinni’s memorabilia.
The structure was inaugurated in 1997 in the presence of Claudine Piccinni, a direct descendant of the musician. The City of Bari has currently entrusted its management to the State Conservatory of Music "Niccolò Piccinni" to start up the "Casa Piccinni" Music Research Centre.

Niccolò Piccinni’s house in Vico Fiscardi widens up into a small courtyard where an external flight of stairs leads to the first floor. It consists of a long, narrow three-storey dwelling, having a width of only four metres, compared to a depth of over thirty metres. The ground floor is accessed via Piazza Mercantile where four interconnecting rooms develop along the entire length of the building. On the first floor, there are five rooms and a rectangular light well, housing a staircase that leads to the second floor. The building is historically important not only because it is the childhood home of the famous composer, but also because restoration work carried out in the 1980s unveiled the remains of a rectangular medieval tower house, constructed with hewn limestone masonry blocks, in the central part of the building.

The fact that the tower had been completely incorporated into the surrounding buildings offers a clear vision of how the medieval town had transformed over the centuries. These transformations also are exemplified in the façade walls of the Piccinni house as well as in those of countless other buildings in the historical centre. At first sight, the façade overlooking Piazza Mercantile appears to be a single unified front. A closer inspection, however, reveals that it is the result of late 19th-century modifications that incorporated the pre-existing building, and attempted to blend the structures architecturally. Signs of the chronological succession of structures joined together in time include; the diversity of materials used, the varying dimensions of the walls, the irregular layout of the rooms, the traces of crescent-shaped arches on the inside and on the façades. As the buildings were unified, the spaces left unoccupied in the original medieval city became sparser. The building had risked partial demolition under the 1930 "City Building and Demolition Plan” designed to demolish a substantial number of buildings in the old town in an attempt to “thin out” the old city. Fortunately, the historical and cultural relevance of the sites prevailed, and the plan was revised, leaving walls and street divisions virtually unaltered. The intention to transform the illustrious composer’s childhood home into a house-museum for the citizens of Bari gave way to reconstruction work that started in the early 1980s and lasted for almost two decades. The architect Mauro Civita’s project involved the demolition of partition walls and accretions, re-building of the floors, and visual exposure of the most ancient parts of the building. For administrative reasons, the museum is currently (2016) not accessible to visitors.

The musician Niccolò Piccinni of Bari was born in a small house located in an alley called Fiscardi, next to the fountain in Piazza Mercantile.
Some toponymy experts maintain that Fiscardi derives from the name of the Viscardi family, owners of many homes in the area. Others (V. A. Melchiorre) believe the name may derive from Guiscard, as in Robert Guiscard de Hauteville, the Norman who conquered Bari in 1071.

How do I reach downtown?
airport Airport  

From Viale Enzo Ferrari, continue in the direction of Strada Provinciale 204 / Viale Gabriele d'Annunzio / SP204.
Take Viale Europa, SS16, Via Napoli and Corso Vittorio Veneto in the direction of Piazza Mercantile in Bari.
Continue along Lungomare Augusto Imperatore. Piazza Ferrarese is on the right.
Walk towards Piazza Mercantile

motorway Toll road  

From the toll booth at Bari Sud of the Autostrada A14,
Take E843, Viale Giuseppe Tatarella, the underpass Sottopassaggio Giuseppe Filippo, Via Brigata Regina
Continue along Lungomare Augusto Imperatore in the direction of Piazza Mercantile in Bari.
Piazza Ferrarese is on the right.
Walk towards Piazza Mercantile

other Public Transport  

AMTAB bus lines #2, #4, #10, #12, #12/, #21, and #35 stop near Piazza Ferrarese (continue on foot to Piazza Mercantile)

park Parking lots  

Lungomare Imperatore Augusto-Corso Vittorio Emanuele

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