MOLFETTA, a city and seaport of Italy, in the province of Bari, 16 miles by rail north-north-west of Bari. From the sea it presents a fine appearance with its white stone houses and the remains of its turreted Avails ; and there are several buildings of considerable pretensions. The castle was in the 14th century the prison of Otho, duke of Brunswick. The cathedral is dedicated to St Conrad. Molfetta has well-frequented markets, a small foreign trade (6000 tons in 1881), and such industries as cotton and net weaving, soap-boiling, and rope-spinning. The population was 26,516 in 1871.
Molfetta (Melficta or Malfitum) was given by Charles V. to the duke of Termoli in 1522, and during his lordship it was grievously sacked by the French under Lautrec. In 1631 Cesare Gonzaga took the title of duke of Guastalla and prince of Molfetta ; but in 1640 the fief was sold to the Spinola family, and in 1793 incorporated with the royal domain. The bishopric holds directly of the papal see.