Ex Manifattura Tabacchi
an urban overview
Bari is a medium size city and it’s urban morphology clearly reveals the historical evolution. A
medieval dens tissue and the regular grid of the
‘800 represents the main historic center, closed
to the main monumental S-E waterfront.
Even though the urban tissue appears uniform
and regular, it’s identity shows two completely
opposite inner realities. One is full of services,
offices and cultural activities, while the other one
it’s just a mono-functional residential area with a
few facilities and multiethnic inhabitants.
The ex Manifattura Tabacchi it’s an oversized
block standing in the so-called Libertà neighborhood, so closed to the city center, but still
so full of local needs.
dense of services
mixed used area
high dense residential area
The building of Manifattura Tabacchi stands on
a 150x200 mt rectangular area, on the track of
the old road ‘San Giorgio’ that led to the town
The block is bounded by four roads: Via Nicolai,
Via Ravanas, via Crisanzio, Via Libertà.
In the internal court and at the entrance by Via
Ravans as well, there are two gardens. Once
the second one was used as open air cinema
called “Arena Giardino”.
The building has been designed in order to
satisfy needs related to tobacco manufacturing
activities (security for workers and products
This inaccessibility defines it as an introvert
organic architectural organism.
From the outside, the Old Manifattura shows
itself as an unreachable place when it is closed.
The thick gratings were installed since the
beginning because the owners wanted to avoid
that “even only one cigarette could be passed
The central three storeys block built in 1906
was enlarged between 1913 and 1916 with
the perimetral builings along Via Nicolai, Via
Crisanzio and Via Ravanas and with the back
curtain facing Via Libertà.
Built in 1906 in order to supply to the economic
crisis, the Manifattura became soon a symbol of
urban growth as the Theater Petruzzelli and the
The new buildings shaped the future urban
assessment of the area: 15 meter wide roads,
water supply network, drainage system and
railways were built in order to support products’
The industrial activity was suspended in
1975: the building was abandoned and all the
activities were relocated in the New industrial
zone according to the new urban plan edited by
The area of the Manifattura was thus identified
as suitable for housing services considering
the high demand of equipment for the huge
neighborhood (Libertà- Marconi-San Girolamo
In 1983 the National Ministry of Finances
transfered the building to the Municipality of
Bari , that in this way was able to renovate the
central core and transform the ground floor into
food market (2000).
The first floor was ceded to the Justice
department for Mafia trials (rooms for judges,
meetings rooms, bunker rooms, archives,
hygienic services), moreover the entrance block
(via Ravanas) was dedicated to journalists,
police forces and lawyers (hygienic services
and telephones too).
The backside block (via Libertà) and the other
floors were firstly given for a short period
to Politecnico (9 years) with the purpose to
relocate some Architecture classes. Then the
agreement decayed and the spaces were
transfered to the University of Bari.
Nowadays they are still abandoned.
Actually almost the 25% of the ground floor is
occupied by the market and related services
(15.000 sqm for maket, 500 sqm for offices, 300
parking lots, storages, hygienic services).
While the other 75% of the area is still not used.
Overview a cura di:
in collaborazione con: