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The Simi Palace

Strada Lamberti 1 - 6010 - 70122
Beginning of construction 16th century
Current use The State Archaeological Centre
In the heart of the old town, in the part of the city which 16th century deeds refer to as groups of buildings of San Gregorio de’ Falconibus or Palmentiello, there are examples of late 16th century palatiate houses with Baroque additions and open internal courtyards. Among these there are the notable Palazzo Simi and Palazzo Sagges.
Palazzo Simi, an aristocratic residence since the second half of the 16th century, takes its name from the noble family Simi de Burgis who bought it in 1670 and lived there until the beginning of the twentieth century. It looks out over Lamberti and Sagges Streets with an elegant, non uniform façade, a result of incorporating various buildings. This reflects common construction practice in Bari between the 16th and 17th centuries.
Its outward appearance is essentially Renaissance yet it allows for the intrusion of some pre-existing features such as a curved arch gateway dating back to the medieval era. It was built on the site of remains of an anonymous 10th century Byzantine church (which, in turn, stood on an area of Imperial age foundations). According to deeds, this church (recently re-consecrated) was dedicated to San Gregorio de Falconibus and it is still possible to see the three apses and the altar underneath the building.
The wall decorations are of particular interest (partially surviving the 12th century demolition work) and can be seen on the lower part of the central apse; fragments of illustrations depicting the four church padres in episcopal dress, richly decorated and in vivid colours which stand out on the blue background.
The archaeological area is approximately 2.5 metres under today’s ground level and can be reached by a staircase which skirts the building’s old oven. This was in use until several decades ago but is now defunct and is today framed by a selection of domestic pottery objects from the building used for cooking and dining and which were found during archaeological digs.
Since 1999 Palazzo Simi has hosted the State Archaeological Centre. The offices and laboratories of the Authority are on the first and second floors, while the ground floor rooms are used for exhibitions and conferences.
Beginning of construction 16th century
Previous buildings Byzantine church of San Gregorio de Falconibus
Palazzo Simi dates back to the second half of the 16th century together with a number of other noble and imposing Renaissance and “Catalan-style” buildings. These are characterised by façades with columns resting on bases decorated with animals, medallions depicting the city founders and symbols of power, loggias with balustrades, balconies with corbels, apotropaic figures and phytomorphic symbols as well as wide windows with arches, mullioned windows and gables with inscriptions.
It was bought by the Simi de Burgis family who took up residence in 1670 and lived there until the beginning of the twentieth century, renovating and extending their property.
The building, based on a late Roman era house, lies on the site of a small, 10th century Byzantine church named after San Gregorio de Falconibus; its age can be gauged from the ground level at which it was found. At that time, around 1000 AD, the ground level of Bari was around 2.5 – 3 metres lower than today’s level.
However, the Byzantine church underwent partial demolition in the 12th century in order to build another place of worship with a single nave and only one apse.
The demolition of the Romanesque building and its subsequent fall into oblivion were sealed when construction was completed, with the new building incorporating the surviving segments.
How do I reach downtown?
airport Airport  

From the international airport Karol Wojtyla in Bari,
Take Viale Enzo Ferrari in the direction of Strada Provinciale 204 / Viale Gabriele d'Annunzio / SP204.
Take Viale Europa and Via Napoli in the direction of Via S. Francesco D'Assisi in Bari.
Take the SS 16.
Exit the SS 16 via Exit 4 towards “Bari Centro-Porto”.
Continue down Via Napoli and then Via San Francesco d'Assisi.
Drive in the direction of Piazza Federico II di Svevia.

motorway Toll road  

Take E843, Viale Giuseppe Tatarella and the underpass Sottopassaggio Giuseppe Filippo in the direction of Via Napoli in Bari.
Continue along Via Napoli and drive in the direction of Piazza Federico II di Svevia.

other Public Transport  

AMTAB bus lines #3, #12, #12/, #21, and #35 stop near the castle.

park Parking lots  

Piazza Massari-Piazza Federico II di Svevia-Piazza Prefettura