History and museums
Bitonto Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Bitonto, Cattedrale di San Valentino) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Bitonto in the Province of Bari, Italy.
The cathedral, dedicated to Saint Valentine, was the seat of the small Bishopric of Bitonto from the bishopric's foundation, believed to be in the 8th century, until 1818, when it was combined with the neighbouring Diocese of Ruvo to form the Diocese of Ruvo e Bitonto. This was separated again in 1982, and the Diocese of Bitonto, with Bitonto Cathedral as its seat, was briefly revived, but was combined with the Archdiocese of Bari in 1986 to form the Archdiocese of Bari-Bitonto, in which Bitonto Cathedral is now a co-cathedral.
The remains of a palaeochristian church, which predates by some centuries the establishment of the bishopric, have been discovered underneath the present building.
The existing church however is a Romanesque building of the late 11th-12th centuries, influenced by the Basilica of San Nicola in Bari. The west front is divided into three parts and has three portals (the central one of which is sculpted with plant motifs and scenes from the Old Testament), four mullioned windows and a rose window flanked by sculptures of animals supported by small columns. The interior has a nave and two aisles, and is also notable for its sculpture. The main artwork is the marble ambo, a combined pulpit and lectern, of 1229, a masterpiece of medieval Apulian stonecarving. In the crypt is a tile of a griffin, a survival from the predecessor church building.