The first reference to the building was made in a 1599 notary deed: Giovanni Donato Calderone was at the time owner of a “large house situated in the neighbourhood of Santa Maria del Sannace”. Indeed, Palazzo Sagges was located near the city walls in an area of the old Bari residential area known as Santa Maria de Kiri Iohannaci. Historical documents reveal that a church was built here in 1183, commissioned by the Ioannaci family. Originally of Byzantine origin, they had settled in Bari and married into the Dottula family. A series of linguistic modifications, masterfully recreated by Beatillo, led to its 1675 renaming as “Santa Maria del Sannace”.
Already by the end of the 17th century, the need to clearly identify areas corresponding to single properties had become apparent. A number of notary deeds of the time identify the building as “the palatiata house, with its boundaries situated in the street of the Martinez family around the street of San Giuseppe”.
In effect, as demonstrated by a will from 1630 and a notary deed from 1647, the building had become the property of Giuseppe Martinez, a member of a noble Spanish family from Valencia. He had probably arrived in Bari during the second half of the 16th century, after the death of Bona Sforza, when the city returned to Spanish crown rule. Giovanni Martinez, “tax official of the Royal customs office”, built a noble chapel for his family’s use in 1639. From that time, the stellar rise of the Martinez family on the social scale was punctuated by a series of arranged marriages and successes which produced enormous wealth and numerous properties.
The building was inherited by Alessandro, canon of the Royal Church of San Nicola, and then by Giuseppe Antonio, elected mayor of the Piazza del Popolo in 1679; he, in turn, was to leave it to his three children, Francesco, Tommaso and Teresa. The property was maintained intact until the three children were forced to sell it to meet debts incurred by their great uncle Alessandro.
On 5th March 1701, with an act overseen by the notary Onofrio Pascarito, “don Pietro Sage, royal revenue and duties bursar for the city of Bari” bought the “palatiata building, property of the Martinez family” for 2,300 ducats.
There is little information available on the origins of Pietro Sage or Sagges, but it is known that once he arrived in Bari, he held a job as royal bursar and became a rich and powerful man, his wealth allowing him to later acquire “the turret house” from the Martinez family, adjacent to the palatiata house.
However, from the first years of the 19th century the building was gradually sold by his successors, probably as a result of the debts incurred during its 18th century refurbishment. In 1927 Giovanni Sagges, the last heir of the “three propped-up, first floor rooms of ancient construction, forming part of the antique Palazzo Sagges”, decided to sell those, too.
It was only in the 1970s as part of a general redevelopment of the old town that renovation work began on a number of historical buildings. In 1974, the ancient Palazzo Sagges was appropriated by the state for its restoration and use as the head office of the Apulia Archives Authority.