Covered Market

Via Monforte 6, Campobasso, Municipality of Campobasso, Molise Region, Italy
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Market building
Year of build:
Original name:
Enrico Mandolesi
Past and Present Ownership of the Building/Site:

Municipality of Campobasso

Typology and Style

Built in 1957 on a design by the architect Enrico Mandolesi. In the fifties and sixties of the twentieth century, the engineer Enrico Mandolesi revolutionized the concepts of urban planning and architecture through a rationalist vision based on the evolution of language and technological innovation. One of the most evident variations of this concept can be found in the use of exposed brick, a definitely innovative constructiontechnique for those years, when the products were made with plastered bricks.The market is still considered a one-of-a-kind of its type, even if over the years it had to deal with some unlikely interventions, such as the elimination of the original circular sales counters, also made with exposed bricks, or the choice of painting one of the external facades with a mural.

Degree of preservation and status of protection

The market is still used for the intended purposes and functions. However, a possible recovery has been under consideration for years, and several projects have been presented to enhance and restore it - or in some cases to change its function.

Architectural Description

The name of the building is "Covered Market", and is sometimes referred to as the “Mandolesi Market". The elementary almost sparse spatiality, characterized by a strong tectonic component to which the market refers, aimed at overcoming the pure functional data, and is a particularly significant expression of this approach. The reinterpretation of the role of public place is intended for sale but also for the exchange and meeting between people, which this type of structure has played throughout history. It suggests to the designer the use of a unitary space, a large full height classroom, with upper balcony and perimeter shops, structured according to a basilica layout. A covered square, in continuity with the city, characterized by the fluid and lively space of the sale on the ground floor where the arrangement in regular rows of the brick and stone counters for sale (today unfortunately demolished), shaped on a circular plan, was aimed at evoke the atmosphere of the oldest Roman markets. On the outside, the volume follows the morphology of the land, reuniting the two different parts of the city at the ends and thus reaffirming its urban value. Inside, the balanced relationship between the three dimensions of the lobby basin is underlined by the rhythm of the reinforced concrete frames, interspersed with exposed brick infill and large windows, which mark the space giving it a character of gravity and same time of familiarity.

History and Historical Context

The Covered Market was built in 1957 on a design by the architect Enrico Mandolesi and is still considered a unique work of its kind today. For decades, and still today, it has represented the food market of Campobasso, and a place of exchange between supply and demand for agricultural products. Its valorization must aim to consider it as a strategic building for the economic and cultural dynamics of the city of Campobasso. Furthermore, the Market is a place "where market is made", that is where social actors - producers, entrepreneurs, consumers, citizens, but also institutions - meet.

Values of the Building

The covered market of Campobasso represents an important testimony of the Italian architectural production of the 1950s, a period that saw many architects committed to rethinking the values and role of the discipline in a society that has just emerged from the Second World War. In the plastic-spatial unity of structure and form thus achieved, the architectural value and permanence of the building, the aesthetic and symbolic value, as well as the simply utilitarian one, to which the durability of the building is linked, are evident.

New Cultural Tourist Offer Focused on Selected Building/Site

The Covered Market is located in the center of the city, and is part of the ideal route that starts from the Monforte Castle and subsequently touches the School House and finally the Ex Onmi building. Its strategic location in the city center has determined a stable pole for the community. The border position, between the agricultural area of the gardens of S. Antonio Abate and the commercial area of the city center, meant that a spontaneous commercial fervor developed in the market area, until the unfortunate moment when the abandonment of small agricultural activities and the birth of shopping centers shifted the economy to the industrial area, changing the daily habits of the local people.

Importance of the Building/Site for Today's Society

The offer regards the organisation of activities such as fairs and events related to the food sector, as well as cultural events as concerts and exhibitions, conferences, etc.