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(photo of Toti Calò)
Castel del Monte, 540 mt
Castel del Monte
Castel del Monte, well-known for its octagonal shape, is one of the main attractions of Apulia.
The castle, built by order of Emperor Federico II in 1240, is about 16 Km far from Andria and it dominates the lands below in the sunny setting of Murgia.
It is the only castle in the world with that kind of shape. It is shrouded in mystery.


(photo of Toti Calò)
Il cortile interno - Castel del Monte
An historical outline
After the Emperor's death the castle was used as a prison.
In the year 1628, after the fall of the Swabians, Carlo I d'Angiò would have imprisoned there Manfredi's sons, i.e. Federico, Enrico and Enzo.
In 1945 Ferdinando d'Aragona stayed in the castle before being crowned king of the Two Sicilies in Barletta. The present castle's name appears in a decree by the same king, which was promulgated by Altamura later.
Since the XVIII century the castle, unattended, was devastated, marbles and furniture were stolen and it became a shelter for shepherds, brigands, political refugees.
In 1876, before falling into disrepair, the castle was bought by the Italian State and it was restored.
In the year 1996 the castle was declared humanity world property by UNESCO thanks to its uniqueness.


(photo of Alberto Gentile)
Volta della torre - Castel del Monte
The building
The castle is mainly a monumental ortoganal-shaped building equipped with eight towers standing at the eight edges of the building itself. The castle has two floors; on each floor you will find eight trapezoidal rooms overlooking an octagonal-shaped courtyard. Trough two symmetric flights of stairs you will get to a stately portal on the east side of the building.
The castle is made of three building materials:
  • local limestone, white or pink according to the parts of the day and the weather conditions;
  • marbel, white or lightly veined; originally it was probably the main material for the castle's furniture;
  • coral crushed stone, used for ornaments in the rooms on the ground floor, in interior and outer fittings of doors and windows and in the main portal.

The mix of those building materials and their distribution throughout the building are not random. They play an important role in the visitors' chromatic vision.

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