In the square, we can find the Palazzo del Sedile, with a 16th century clock tower on top, the Palazzo della Dogana, built probably in the 16th century by the Duchess of Milan, Isabella of Aragon, the stone lion, or Colonna infame, and the baroque fountain Fontana della Pigna.
Piazza Mercantile, located close to the Porto Vecchio, was home to the Municipality of Bari since at least the second half of the 15th century, when the Palazzo del Sedile was built.
At the beginning of the 17th century, under the Sforzas, the area was subjected to a renewal program, after the event of 1601, when most of the buildings in the square were burned to the ground, including the Palazzo del Sedile and the city’s arsenal. The Palazzo del Sedile was rebuilt soon after the fire and embelished with a bell tower.
At the beginning of the 19th century, after the municipal seat of the city moved from the Palazzo del Sedile in Via Palazzo di Città, Piazza Mercantile retained the role of the meeting point, and was used for festivals, ceremonies and public entertainment.
During the 19th century, with the building of the commercial port on the other side of the city, the square slowly lost its role as the main city hub, being replaced over time by Corso Vittorio Emanuele, where the most important public buildings and meeting points could be found.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza Mercantile is located near the southern edge of the historical center of Bari, about 1.3 kilometers away from the Bari Centrale train station. You can reach the nearby Piazza del Ferrarese with one of the bus Lines 2, 4, 10, 12, 12/, 21 and 35, and then continue on foot to Piazza Mercantile.