Only two kilometres from Manfredonia,
along the Adriatic coast is where one will find Siponto, and
ancient Dauna City which was destroyed by an earthquake during
the High Medieval period.
Manfredonia was born out of a project of reconstruction decided
by King Manfredi.
Today the place is called Lido di Siponto, a true seaside
Founded by the Daunii, one of three roots which describe the
population with Illyrian origins, who landed on the coasts
of Puglia at the end of the Bronze Age, in the Masseria Cupola
area, Siponto already had noteworthy commercial exchange,
since the VII Century BC, with people from the Mediterranean
basin. Hut remains have been discovered from this period,
which were constructed on posts, as well as rich funerary
items made of gold and silver.
The City then entered into the commercial orbit of the powerful
Greek colonies of Puglia and in a short time, experienced
a process of Hellenisation of its customs.
In 335 BC, it was one of the centres conquered by Alessandro
I, the Molosso, who disembarked in Italy with the intent of
unifying it into a single Southern reign.
During the clashes of the Second Punic War, Siponto was conquered
by Hannibal who surrendered it to the Romans in 194BC, who
in turn erected defensive walls to protect the port.
During the Imperial era, it gained particular importance as
a commercial port of Northern Puglia, and remained prosperous
for many centuries through this maritime trade.
During the II Century AD, the City was linked to Via Traiana.
The Advent of Christianity was swift for the coasts of Puglia,
being an area of disembarkation of the apostles and saints
on their way to Rome. Siponto was therefore quickly converted.
The IV Century and construction of the Paleochristian Basilica
with its nave formation, testifies a period of wealth and
splendour. It became an Episcopal Seat almost immediately.
In 465 Bishop Felice was present.
It became an Ostrogoth and Byzantine centre after the Greek-Gothic
War (535-553), but due to its particular geographic position
and commercial importance, it was a target of the Longobard
Dukedom of Benevento.
Siponto passed to the Longobards from the VII to IX Centuries
and lived under dependence of Benevento. It had strong relations
with the Monte S. Angelo Sanctuary.
The Byzantines reconquered it during the IX Century and governed
it until the arrival of the Normans in 1039 when it became
a Earldom or county.
In 1053 Pope Leone IX gave it its independence from the Diocese
of Benevento. In 1069 it once again acquired its autonomy
and became one of the most powerful dioceses of Puglia.
The Bradisismo (volcanic activity) phenomenon slowly and unrelentingly
caused the City to become a swamp area. It was then almost
completely destroyed by an earthquake during 1223.
In 1256, the Swabian King Manfredi, son of Federick II and
Bianca Lancia, came across its ruins during a hunt on horseback
and ordered its reconstruction a few kilometres further South.
Manfredonia was founded and a good degree of the population
of Siponto transferred to the new city.
Siponto was abandoned and its rebirth as a seaside resort
only came about halfway during the XX Century, after long
swamp reclamation work.
Not to be missed: a visit to the S. Maria Maggiore Church
of Siponto, constructed during the XI Century on a building
previously erected during Roman times. Adjacent to the Church,
one can also visit the remains of the Paleochristian Basilica
from the IV Century.