MOLFETTA, a seaport and episcopal see of Apulia, Italy, in the province of Bari, from which it is 16 m. N.N.W. by rail. Pop. (1901), 42,363. The old cathedral of S. Conrad is a Romanesque structure. The old town is surrounded by walls, and has medieval houses; the new town is more spacious, and is an active seaport. The origin of Molfetta is uncertain, though there was a neolithic settlement here. The town was given by Charles V. to the duke of Termoli in 1522, and during his lordship it was sacked by the French under Lautrec. In 1631 Cesare Gonzaga took the title of duke of Guastalia and prince of Molfetta; but in 1640 the fief was sold to the Spinola family, and in 1798 incorporated with the royal domain. The bishopric is directly subject to the papal see.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)