Restored Svevo castle in Bari reopens

Minister inaugurates new space for exhibitions, concerts, debate

(ANSA) - Bari, October 3 - Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini on Tuesday inaugurated the restored first-floor rooms of the Norman Svevo Castle in the Puglia regional capital of Bari ahead of their opening to the public shortly.
    The space, which until recently hosted the offices of the Superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape, will soon be used to display contemporary artworks and archaeological remains and as a space for concerts, debates and international congresses. The Superintendent's offices have been transferred to the monumental complex of Santa Chiara, which has also just been restored. The combined restoration project cost a total of 8 million euros.
    The new space is set to make the Svevo (Swabian) Castle a strong competitor to Castel del Monte, a World Heritage Site in the nearby town of Andria and currently the number two visitor attraction in Puglia despite its limited space. "We will offer more culture and with the opening of a second floor we aim to double visitor numbers," said Svevo Castle director Rosa Mezzina.
    However, eight surveillance staff members need to be assigned to the new rooms before they can open and the space must first come under the formal auspices of the Pugliese museum network, which will organise the cultural initiatives there. These include an exhibition in one of the monumental reception rooms of works from the collection of local collector Angelo Baldassarre, centering on work from the 1960s and 1970s by American artists including Joe Baldessari, Robert Barry, Mel Bochner, Bruce Boice, Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth, Sol Lewitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Neumann, Richard Tuttle and Andy Warhol. Smaller rooms already contain the permanent displays of pottery uncovered during excavations at the castle, stonemasonry including including capitals and sculptures, coins, jewellery and fabrics. The ground floor, which is already a museum space, hosts the multimedia room, gypsotheque, Sveva room currently hosting an exhibition on the Lecce tenor Tito Schipa, central courtyard and archaeological remains below.