Want to learn more about Castel del Monte Bari, Italy? Read on for facts and info on one of the most popular castles of Italy dating back to the 13th century…
The country of Italy is famous for fine examples of medieval architecture from the Middle Ages that can be witnessed in the many amazing Castles, cathedrals, churches and other buildings. One of the most popular castles of Italy is the Castel del Monte which attracts tourists from all over the world.
History of Castel del Monte Bari
This impressive structure was erected back in the 13th century in the Apulia region of southeast Italy. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II was responsible for commissioning the establishment of the castle. The construction process was initiated in 1240 and continued up to 1250. In subsequent centuries the castle was subject to despoiling of its interior furnishings and marble. One of the things that differentiate this castle from others of its era is the fact that it is void of any drawbridge or moat, both of which were characteristic of castles built during that time. Historians suggest that the reason for the absence of these elements of medieval architecture could be the fact that it was never intended to serve as a defensive fortress in the first place.
The Castel del Monte occupies a pristine location upon a small hill. The Santa Maria del Monte monastery is situated close by at an altitude of about 540 meters. The monastery falls within the commune of Andria and is located on the site where a massive fortress used to exist.
The castle reached its completion in about 10 years and served the purpose of a hunting lodge for Frederick until he passed away in 1250. Following his death the castle was turned into a prison. It was also used as a safe haven during the years of plague. However it fell into disuse for some time, which allowed significant damage and disrepair to occur in the structure. Originally the castle had been built using marble walls and columns. However opportunistic vandals completely stripped the castle of all the valuable items that had been used in constructing its interior.
Description of Castel del Monte
In its essence the castle is built in the shape of an octagonal prism. It has an octagon Bastian at each of its corners. Every floor in the castle has a total of eight rooms along with an eight sided courtyard which is situated smack in the center. For the Romans the octagon was considered to be a symbol representing a cross between the earth and the sky. This was because it contained both the square as well as a circle. Historians suggest that Frederick II might have taken inspiration from the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem which he had managed to observe during his expedition during the Crusades. There are others who suggest that the Palace Chapel of Aachen Cathedral was the source of inspiration for this castle. Although the castle suffered a considerable amount of damage through the years it has been restored to serve as a major tourist attraction in the region of Bari.