The complex of Santo Stefano is an ancient abbey a few kilometres away from the eastern entrance to Monopoli, located on a rocky spur which in the past was a flourishing Roman marketplace, called Turris Paola.
It was run by Benedictine monks and then changed into hospital of the order of the Knights of Hospitaller. At the end of the 14th century it was run by the Knights of Malta until the beginning of the 20th century, as a feud. It was private during the age of Joachim Murat and it is still a private building.
At the bottom of this complex there is the beach of Cala Rossa.
The fortified complex was built at the end of the 11th century by the Norman Goffredo d’Altavilla, count of Conversano. After a few years, the building was given to the Benedictine monks and then was changed into hospital of the order of the Knights Hospitaller. It was completely destroyed by Frederik II and then rebuilt. It was then given to the Knights of Malta.
The building has a quadrangular plan and has a large courtyard inside, with an old well. There are a few parts which date back to the Middle Ages, such as the altar and the portal of the church, of the 13th century, with a precious low-relief in the lunette which represents the Saints Stefano and Giorgio.
Contrada Santo Stefano 70043 Monopoli +390804140264
Free entry for everyone
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