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Welcome to the portal dedicated to Castel del Monte

If you’re looking for information to plan your visit to Castel del Monte and want to know where to eat, where to stay, what to visit nearby, where to park and more about the manor of Frederick II of Swabia, you’re in the right place!

Castel del Monte Puglia

The History of Castel del Monte

The castle is built directly on a rocky outcrop, which is visible in many places and is universally known for its octagonal shape. On each of the eight corners, eight towers of the same shape are inserted into the local limestone walls, marked by a string course, with eight monophores opening onto the lower level, seven bipores, and a single trifore, facing Andria, on the upper level.

The Courtyard of Castel del Monte

The courtyard, octagonal in shape, is characterized, like the entire building, by the chromatic contrast resulting from the use of coral breccia, limestone, and marbles. Once there were also ancient sculptures, of which only the slab depicting the Knights’ Procession and a Fragment of an anthropomorphic figure remain. Corresponding to the upper floor, there are three door-windows, beneath which there are some projecting elements and some holes, perhaps intended to support a wooden balcony useful for making the rooms independent of each other, all communicating with each other with a ring path, except for the first and eighth, separated by a wall in which a large oculus opens at the top, probably used for communication.

The sixteen rooms, eight on each floor, have a trapezoidal shape and have been covered with an ingenious solution. The space is distributed, in fact, in a central square span covered with ribbed cross, (with semi-columns in coral breccia on the ground floor and trilobed marble pillars on the upper one), while the remaining triangular spaces are covered with ogival barrel vaults. The keystones of the cross vaults are different from each other, decorated with anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, and phytomorphic elements.

The connection between the two floors is made through three spiral staircases inserted into as many towers.

The Towers of Castel del Monte

Some of these towers house cisterns for collecting rainwater, partly also conveyed to the cistern dug into the rock, below the central courtyard. In other towers, instead, there are bathrooms, equipped with a toilet and sink, and flanked by a small room, probably used as a dressing room or perhaps intended to accommodate tubs for ablutions, as body care was widely practiced by Frederick II and his court, according to a typical practice of that Arab world so loved by the sovereign.

Of great interest is the sculptural equipment which, although greatly depleted, provides a significant testimony of the original decorative apparatus, once also characterized by the wide chromatic range of the materials used: mosaic tesserae, majolica tiles, vitreous pastes, and mural paintings, some of which were seen by some local writers and historians between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Currently, the two anthropomorphic shelves in the Falconer’s Tower, the telamons that support the umbrella vault of one of the stair towers, and a fragment of the mosaic pavement in the VIII room on the ground floor are still present. Instead, two important sculptural fragments, depicting a Head and an Acephalic Bust, found during the long restorations, have been temporarily deposited in the Provincial Art Gallery of Bari, which have not returned any trace of the octagonal basin placed in the center of the courtyard, mentioned by some scholars of the last century.