A journey through the history of Bari

About the museum

The Civic Museum of Bari was founded in 1913 to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the creation of the “Murat District”. On this occasion the Civic Administration organized and set up the “Historical Exhibition of the 19th century”, which was also promoted by some important scholars of Bari.

This Exhibition was so successful that the City Administration decided to establish the first “Historical Museum” in the Margherita Theatre‘s rooms.

In 1926 the museum became a charitable trust, which kept its location in the theatre and in the course of time was enriched by interesting material like the archive and the paintings of the Tanzi family.

During the Second World War the museum was seized by the Anglo-American troops and became a recreation centre for soldiers. The museum re-opened some years later in different locations of Bari in Largo Urbano II, near the Basilica of San Nicola.

In 1977 the museum was moved into Strada Sagges 13 and the collection trasferred to the present premises. The old palace which houses the museum is located on the edge of the early medieval core of the city, in an area full of archaeological finds. The building consists of a three-storey tower, which connects to the Petroni arch, thus representing a fortified complex, which is typical of medieval palace houses.

Subsequently other structures were added to it, like the southern building, which dates back to the late 18th century.

One of the most valuable goods in the museum collection is the cradle of the Marquis of Montrone, a precious carved wooden artefact, decorated with silver leaf apllications dating back the the second half of the  18th century.

The first printed book in Bari, by th French typographer Gilberto Nehou, goes back, instead, to the 15th of October 1535. The author under the pseudonym Parthenopeo Suavio is Nicola Antonio Carmignano, a gentleman from Napoli at the service of Isabella d’Aragona and her daughter Bona Sforza.



Gioacchino Murat founded the new city in 1813 laying the first stone of the “borgo murattiano”. After the end of the French domination, the Bourbons expanded Murat’s project and defined the urban structure of the new quarter.

One hundred years later, Prof. Francesco Nitti, along with a group of intellectuals of Bari, collected documents and materials to celebrate Bari in 1800 and the Unification of Italy. The “Historical Exhibition of the 19th century” was therefore created, inaugurated in the school building “Giuseppe Garibaldi”.



To celebrate the end of the First World War, the Civic Administration decided to establish the first “Historical Museum”, set up in the Margherita Theatre‘s rooms.

The previous Historical Exhibition of the 19th century was then followed by a rich war Exhibition.



During the Second World War, the Margherita Theatre was seized by the Anglo-American troops and became a recreation centre for soldiers. All the museum goods were moved into the underground rooms of the Norman-Swabian Castle of Bari.

The confusion and the hurry caused losses and thefts of the museum collection’s goods, which were

piled up randomly until the end of the war, when the museum re-opened for some years in different locations of Bari in Largo Urbano II, near the Basilica of San Nicola.



The Museum’s collection was transferred to the present premises, an imposing medieval fortified complex on the threshold of the old city in Strada Sagges.



Today the Museum re-opens thanks to the City Council’s will, with a new management entrusted to private subjects and with a new display project.

The Civic Museum presents itself to the city as a dynamic cultural incubator, which is able to welcome numerous events, thus becoming a culturally vibrant place for local citizens, a reference point for reconstructing Bari’s history and memory.




A Museum is the place where knowledge is built


Educational workshops are organized in the Museum by reservation.

An educational workshop allows creativity, knowledge building and discovery learning, but most of all it is a method for experiencing the museum spaces.

The proposed workshops are based on the most recent studies of Art and Archaeology teaching methods.

The objective of these experiences is to get students to know our tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage through a creative and lively teaching method.

Information and reservations: didattica@museocivicobari.it

Contact us

Museum hours: 
From Monday to Friday: : 9:30-13:30, 16:30-19:30 (last entry 19:00)
Saturday and Sunday: 09:30-13:30 (last entry 13:00)

Full ticket: €5,00
Reduced ticket: €3,00

The most complete bibliography of books on the history of Bari is available in the museum!

General inquiries (events, education, guided tours)

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