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The Fish Market- Sala Murat

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Beginning of construction 1817 Sala Murat; 1837 Fish Market
Current use Exhibition space
The Sala Murat (Murat Hall) is named after Gioacchino Murat, King of Naples, who in 1813 laid the first stone of the Murattian borough of the city. It recalls the structure of the previous Meat Market (1818), the first public building in the city, which was to be demolished in the post-World War II period after becoming derelict.
The prominent façade of the recently rebuilt edifice looks out onto Piazza Ferrarese while its lesser façades overlook Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Vallisa. Two of these façades are in dazzling white Trani stone and show an alternation of wide arch apertures and double pilasters on high plinths, which bear the epistyles that form the top of the building.
Today, Sala Murat’s 400 square metres are used for exhibitions and specialised retail for local designers and craftspeople (www.pugliadesignstore.it).

The ex-Fish Market building is a compact construction on two floors, with an orderly horizontal and vertical composition.
Its façade on Piazza del Ferrarese has five central bays opening onto the market itself, while the second and eighth bays permit access to the upper floors.
The architecture of the ground floor is typical of early 19th century buildings, with double ashlar pilasters set on high stone plinths. These frame the arched apertures and end in a jutting cornice.
The first floor is a loft used as a parapet and is characterised by columns in binate Ionic order alternating with wide rectangular windows which reveal pinnacled epistyles and shell-shaped embellishments. The façade ends with a summit cornice on a bracket overlooking the parapet of the terrace.
The façade on Corso Vittorio Emanuele and on Via Vallisa are divided into three and four bays, respectively. The first is on the windowed ground floor, while the second provides access to the workshops, currently undergoing restoration work.
The east frontage, while maintaining the features of the other façades, has a simplified ornamental design, which reveals its later construction period. It is closed at the ends by architraved apertures above which there are square mezzanine windows.

These twin buildings, together with the Margherita theatre, will soon become venues for the Bari Centre of Contemporary Art.
Beginning of construction 1817 Sala Murat; 1837 Fish Market
In 1817, a covered market was built for the sale of meat, bread and vegetables, designed by the architect Giuseppe Gimma. The construction took place in an area in front of the port, just before the Porta della Marina quay (which was being demolished at the same time) and bordered the old town on one side and a new, expanding borough of the city on the other.
The Fish Market, as the older Meat Market, had an arcade of seven aisles in length and two in width. It was covered by a cross-vaulted ceiling and was closed by a wall on the sea side in order to protect the square from north-east and south-east winds, as well as the coastal surges which sometimes flooded the area, even reaching the food stalls. In the remaining space between the building and the area of the old quay, a triangular edifice was constructed with a stairway to allow for access to the roof of the market.
During the 19th century, the two southerly bays were converted to provide offices for the local police force.
In 1897 the building was damaged by a fire. During repair work, which started in 1900, the council technical department drew up a project to raise and extend another two bays northwards. This project was carried out at the same time as more general renovation work for the whole square and a realignment of the coastline with the building of new road access to the sea.
Work proceeded slowly and it was only in the later 1910s that the building acquired its current appearance, with nine bays on the longer façade and four on the northern side. One curious feature was that before the construction of the sea front, the building stood directly above the water to the east and partially so to the north.
In the post-second World War era, the area of Piazza del Ferrarese became a centre of debate and subject of various projects for its renovation; despite being one of the most important zones of the city, it was in a state of neglect. The Fish Market was restored by the Public Works Office in 1968, marked by a plaque on the north façade. This work maintained the use of the ground floor as a market, with council offices occupying the first floor

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