Basilica di San Nicola in Bari

Last year, I wrote about the history of San Nicola. Go ahead check it out, it’s a good story.

La Festa di San Nicola (the Feast of Saint Nicholas) is celebrated every year in Italy on December 6th. It is a day to honor San Nicola, who is not just the patron saint of children, sailors, merchants, and archers, but also the patron saint of the city of Bari.

Interior of Basilica di San Nicola, Bari
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The remains of San Nicola are buried in a crypt below the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari. The structure, that would later become the Basilica, used to be home to the Byzantine Governor during the early part of the 11th century. When the relics of San Nicola were retrieved from Asia Minor (now knows as Turkey) in 1087, the palace was converted to a church. The Crypt which houses the relics of San Nicola, located underneath the Basilica, was consecrated in 1089 by Pope Urban II. Then in 1197, the Basilica was consecrated.

When you enter the Basilica, take a look up and admire the beautiful paintings by artist Carlo Rosa of Bitontum. He began painting the ceiling in 1661 and it took him about 10 years to complete. Once you can tear your eyes away from the ceiling, head to your right and enter the Treasury Hall which is located in the bell tower. Here you will find a large collection of various precious relics, painted manna bottles, and even the remains of the box that was used to transport San Nicola’s remains from Turkey to Bari.

Tomb of San Nicola
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After admiring the Basilica, you can make your way to the staircase, located in the right nave of the Church which leads down to the Crypt. Peering through the iron-gates, you can see the tomb of San Nicola. The tomb, resembling an altar, has a small hole in the upper front panel which is opened on the evening of May 9th (marking the day the sailors returned with San Nicola’s remains) to extract holy manna, believed to have miraculous healing powers.

The Basilica di San Nicola in Bari is open from 7:30am to 1:00pm and again from 4:00pm – 7:30pm daily.

Since today is the Saint Day for San Nicola, I want to send a special auguri to my father.

Buon onomastico papà!!! Ti voglio bene e mi manchi tanto!!


5 thoughts on “Basilica di San Nicola in Bari

  1. Very good. You wrote this way: “La Festa di San Nicola (the Feast of Saint Nicholas) is celebrated every year in Italy on December 6th.” In fact we are celebrating just on the same day our Independence Day. Great?

    Your photos are very admirable!


  2. this basilica is where my nonno Giovanni died during WWII when it was bombed. my dad (who was a teenager then) was supposed to have gone with him to work that day, but instead he decided not to.

    I’m sorry to hear about your nonno. 😦

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