Castel del Monte is probably one of the most famous cultural sites of Puglia. Its architecture and its history are the strengths of this magical Swabian Castle.
It is located in a strategic position, built directly on a rocky hill where it seemed to dominate the Kingdom of Sicily.
Castel del Monte is well known for its shape which tells a lot about the founder Frederick II of Swabia or Hohenstaufen.
History of foundation
The historical books placed the establishment of the Castle around 1240, a few years later Frederick’s arrival in the region.
Frederick II visited Puglia for the first time in March 1221, coming back to the Kingdom from Germany. He fell in love with this rich region, full of rivers, culture, and forests where to practice his great passion: hunting.
Just two years after his visit, the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily has been moved from Palermo to Foggia.
This, due to the strategic position of Foggia and the Capitanata, considering the whole Empire.
Castel del Monte is a part of a castle system that gave a distinctive sign of the Sovereign’s royal power and magnificence.
Castles and royal palaces combined many purposes: residential, administrative, and defensive. For its octagonal shape and location, Castel del Monte probably wasn’t built as a military castle.
Instead, considering Frederick II’s love for art and architecture and the importance of the “light” during the Middle Age, Castel del Monte was built as a symbol of the Kingdom.
Sacral and iconic architecture
Certainly, the shape is the most iconic trait of Castel del Monte. It is based on an octagonal shape, and an octagonal tower is placed on each one of the eight sides of the castle. The calcareous facetings of the towers then generate many colors and light effects.
Moreover, the number eight recurs even in the number of rooms for each floor, making some kind of architectural perfection.
This Castle was, without any doubt, Frederick’s pride.
Located on a little hill, directly on the rocky bank and without any foundations, it was the object of many restoration works.
The Castle takes light during the whole day, which gave it special importance during the Middle Age when the light meant the presence of God.
The strategic location
Castel del Monte seems to be isolated and far from other important sites, but actually, its position is very strategic. Indeed, the castle is located on the road between Andria and the Castle of Garagnone, of which today there’re ruins. Other two important sites for the Kingdom.
On the border of the National Park of Alta Murgia, Castel del Monte is also very close to other points of interest. The Park of Alta Murgia is, for sure, one of the main forests in Puglia and it’s the perfect place to practice trekking, hiking, walking, and cycling.
In this area, then, is also located the Bauxite Cave of Spinazzola, an abandoned bauxite mine. It is a very weird scenery considering the dark red of the rocks and the contrast those make with the intense green of vegetation.
Furthermore, the Archeological site of Rocca del Garagnone is always considered an interesting hiking destination. We advise you to visit it during sunrise to enjoy a very natural show.
Castel del Monte is still an object of admiration for architecture lovers.
Moreover, if you are a photographer, you’ll be very attracted by its charm. Visiting this site is surely a great opportunity to shoot your best pics.
For its history and splendor, in 1966, the UNESCO Committee for the World Patrimony nominated Castel del Monte as a World Heritage Site.
Before planning your visit to Castel del Monte, remember to check the forecast and contact the Managing Authority for more information by the contact area below.
Otherwise, visit the official website
You can easily get to the Castle by train or bus, but more comfortably by car. The ticket for parking and the shuttle bus costs €5,00.
Get in touch
Connect directly with the managing authority of this place by the contact form
You find all the conversations you made via ImaginApulia, like comments and massages by contact form, on the Your Connections page.
Other connectivity options