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Castel del Monte

Should you be vacationing in Apulia, then you simply must visit Apulia’s probably most famous sight – Castel del Monte near Bari, octagonal in shape and built in the 13th century by Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II.

Castel del Monte

Should you be vacationing in Apulia, then you simply must visit Apulia’s probably most famous sight – Castel del Monte near Bari, octagonal in shape and built in the 13th century by Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II.

A place to visit during your holidays in Apulia: Castel del Monte

It is 50 km from Bari and visible from afar – 13th century Castel del Monte, one of the highlights of a journey to Apulia, for history enthusiasts and for fans of architectural masterpieces.

This superlative piece of architecture was built by order of Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II, a man surrounded by an air of mystique, who used the Castel as a hunting lodge and for gatherings of a select few. It included living quarters and a magnificent throne hall, part of the castle was used for breeding and keeping falconry birds.

Conveniences of Castel del Monte included what you might call an 'advanced plumbing system', providing the toilets and washbasins with water from the cisterns, and a sort of ventilation and communication system between the rooms.

Castel del Monte was never used as a defensive fortress. Up to the present there have been many theories on and possible explanations for the octagonal shape of the building, one being its similarity to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, another its similarity to the Palace Chapel of Charlemagne at Aachen Cathedral.

Nowhere else has the geometric shape of the octagon been realized in such perfection – Castel del Monte remains outstanding.

Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II

During his reign, Frederick II 'adorned' southern Italy with a great number of magnificent buildings. He also shaped the country with his innovative spirit and his thirst for knowledge. His reforms concerning law and order enabled his people to live a well-ordered life and turned Sicily into a bureaucratic state, which then became valid for Europe as a whole. Later he moved his court from Palermo to Foggia in northern Apulia, which became the new capital of his empire.

Frederick astonished and amazed his contemporaries, who called him „Stupor mundi“, wonder of the world. He has gone down in history as a forward-looking, 'progressive' and unorthodox emperor, who did not even dread controversy with the papacy.

 

Information

From our accommodations in the valley of the trulli, it takes you about 1 ½ hours by car to reach Castel del Monte.

Guided tours are offered daily from March to September. Detailed information is found on the official website of Castel del Monte www.casteldelmonte.beniculturali.it.