Fenice Manduria

Manduria, located at the centre of the Apulia region in Southern Italy, is a city with ancient origins. It still has fortifications intact that date back to Magna Grecia, and which can often be seen between the houses which, built over time, have given life to a labyrinth of narrow alleys.

The current appearance of the city dates back to the Eighteenth century, when wealthy landowners of the Imperiale family, the same as those of the nearby Francavilla Fontana, built a large palace on the ruins of the medieval castle. This building was the fundamental element in an important plan to renovate the city’s plan. The palace was designed according to the classic layout of an urban home, with a square floor plan. Owing to the severe and austere style, there are evident unique traits of the late Salento Baroque style.

The history of lighting in Manduria over the course of the Twentieth century may be told starting from the piazza overlooked by the Palace, and which is still the centre of the city to this day. It is a typical story, which is repeated in many Italian cities and that we will find again. The photographic documentation collected by Neri Foundation shows the piazza between the two wars, lit with tall iron and cast iron lamp posts, crowned with sumptuous swan necks.

This lighting remained until the end of the 1950s when, in the wake of a stubborn culture of renewal, they were replaced by simple steel lamp posts.

More than 20 years passed, and around 1980 – in a cultural phenomenon extended to the entire national territory – they began to understand the value of the previous lighting, stubbornly destroyed, and with a new project, new lamp posts were installed. These were not identical to the original ones, but they were made in a similar style.

In the various places around the city, different types of wall brackets and single or multiple-light cast iron lamp posts were used, in addition to tall cast iron and steel posts for the large Piazza. All these posts are by Neri, and they all have spherical luminaires.

In 2015, a new important transition occurred, from discharge lamps to new LEDs, and Manduria’s appearance changed once again. The light sources – the spheres – were renewed. They were replaced with ‘Light 804’ luminaires on single or multiple light posts, and ‘Light 23’ luminaires on the large lamp posts in the Piazza. However, this transformation does not modify the previous disposition, and maintains the lamp posts, which were repainted for the occasion, looking as good as new after more than 30 years.

Today, Manduria is an example of excellent management, keeping elements of value installed in the past, while renewing in terms of lighting engineering and efficiency. The city is enriched, as a result, with increasing quality of life.

The effect is surprising, especially in the evening and at night. From a yellow light that spread out 360 degrees from the spheres, to a 3,000 Kelvin degree light, free of glare. A light that is provided from inside the luminaires which, free of glass, are perceived in their shape, and animate all urban spaces in a discreet and original manner.