Castel del Monte, which means castle on the mountain, is located in the Puglia region in southeastern Italy. The region is located in the southeastern part of Italy, with an area of 19,400 square kilometers and a population of 4.01 million. It ranks seventh in the country and has the capital city of Bari. . The main cities in the region include Budisi, Foggia, Lecce and Taranto. Castel del Monte is an octagonal castle build by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II from around 1229 to 1249. It was includ in the World Heritage List as a cultural heritage in 1996. Castello del Monte is use on the one-cent euro coin minted in Italy.
Description from the World Heritage Committee: King Frederick II began building the Castello di Monte in Bari, southern Italy, in the 13th century. He gave the castle important symbolic significance. This symbolism is reflect in the location of the castle, the mathematical and astronomical precision of its architectural planning, and its perfect shape. As a unique style of military building in the Middle Ages, Monte Castle is undoubtedly a perfect combination of ancient Greek and Roman style, Eastern Islamic style and Northern European Cistercian Gothic architectural style.
Residence by Frederick II
Castel del Monte may have originally been use as a hunting residence by Frederick II, who was fond of hunting. The castle is located on a hill that houses a Benedictine monastery. The castle is approximately halfway between the Castello di Melfi and the Royal Palace of Foggia, where Frederick conducted political and administrative matters at the time. Frederick II succeeded his father to the throne when he was three years old. His reign lasted from 1197 to 1250. He was a great cultural figure, proficient in several languages, and outstanding in mathematics, astronomy and natural sciences. Highly accomplished, he translated the works of Aristotle, Averroes, Ptolemy and Galen into Latin and founded the University of Naples.
He carried out intense cultural activities in Sicily, including southern Italy, known as the “Southern Renaissance”. He was an able ruler who maintained social and economic stability. And he encouraged the feudal system and was an absolute monarch. For this reason, and for self-defense, he built a large number of powerful castles on his lands, the largest and most influential being Castel del Monte.
In 1249, the wedding of Violante, Frederick’s illegitimate daughter, was held here. But later the castle was use as a prison. Its outer walls are 2.55 meters thick and the inner walls are 2.41 meters thick. The first people to be imprison were Enrico, Federico and Azzolino, the grandsons of Frederick who fell from power due to the decline of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in 1265. . The nobles of Andria took refuge in the castle from the plague in 1665. Later, it was abandon in the 17th century, some of the castle’s marbles and carvings were robb, and shepherds and bandits once made it their home. In 1876, the castle came into state ownership, and since then the government has done much restoration work.