Arriving at Andria and being faced with the majesty of Castel del Monte was a bit like one of those dreams of a child had come true; all the children when they study Frederick II, they see on their history book that beautiful castle… I remember that photo I really liked and that castle seemed enchanted. Then you are there, that castle watches over all the greenery that surrounds it, the light stone shines even if illuminated by a faint beam of light on a rainy day and you think: ” yes… this place is really magical, I wasn’t wrong.”
As we drove through, narrow streets lined with immense fields where it is not difficult to see wild boars, we see it: here it is, it looks like a great crown.
Arriving at its feet, the castle almost looks like a sacred temple, a place of knowledge and secrets, a building that collects advanced discoveries of astronomy and mathematics and that mixes religion and science, sacred and profane.
We are enchanted by its beauty, its majesty. So big as to leave anyone breathless and surrounded by a slight haze, it makes the heart tremble. At his feet a respectful silence, almost as if all of us curious had mutinied in the face of this construction, a silence that tastes of admiration and also of awe.
You can’t stop looking at it, you can’t not have your head up until you come in. What’s inside Castel del Monte, that castle you’ve always seen on your history book? why is it there? What do you have to tell?
Among frederick II’s many interests was hunting with the falcon, on which he also wrote a treatise and probably the Murgia, the place where Castel del Montewas erected, was one of his favorite hunting places. For some, Castel del Monte,it was not a castle at all but a temple of knowledge, a place to dedicate yourself to studies in tranquility. For some it may even have been some kind of spa.
Of stories and legends, on this castle there are many… it seems almost shrouded in a veil of mystery, something unknown and imperceptible that only increases its charm.
The octagonal plant is certainly its best known feature and the number 8 is repeated continuously outside and inside: under rises on the ground floor and on the first floor, with a trapezoidal plan they form a new octagon and athe edges are grafted eight towers with the same shape.
Inside there are no corridors so it is hypothesized that in the inner courtyard there was a wooden balcony that would communicate the rooms of the castle.
Lower and upper floors are connected by spiral staircases that are not present in all towers.
The upper floor looks similar to the lower one but is actually much more refined: for example, in each room there are windows windows. In one area, the one looking towards Andria is a window tunnel.
In some rooms it is possible to notice five fireplaces whose position would correspond to that of the cisterns under the towers (yes because Castel del Monte was also equipped with an important system of cisterns that collected rainwater).
Castel del Monte was born in the Middle Ages, but is almost devoid of architectural and artistic elements of that time. Rather it presents a mix of very different artistic cultures: Romanesque, Gothic style, classical style and even oriental-style mosaics.
For its location, for its beauty and for its structure it was also a prison, a holiday resort for nobles and a shelter for brigands. Today, owned by the Italian State, it hosts important exhibitions and events but it is above all yet another pride of our Peninsula and yet another treasure of our humanity: today Castel del Monte is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2015 it was among the most visited sites in Italy.
Whatever story you want to believe, whether you want to think or not that there is something magical in Castel del Monte, visit it. Take your children with you, take a walk on Sundays or if you choose to spend your holidays in the South and in beautiful Puglia, do not miss it. Whether you’re interested in history, art, astronomy or architecture, and even if you don’t feel an interest in any of these disciplines, it doesn’t matter. When we tell you that you will miss your breath, when we tell you that suddenly you will lose your words in the face of its majesty is not to convince you but to prepare you for one of the most spectacular encounters of your life, a meeting that you will remember forever: the encounter with beauty, the one of which our Italy is full.
Castel del Monte is open to the public every day from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm,until April. From April to October the times are 10:15-19:45.
The cost of the adult entrance fee is 7 euro, without a guide
For children and young people up to 18 years of age, admission is free.
You can ask for help from a guide on site or rent audio guides
The official website on which to find many more info is http://www.casteldelmonte.beniculturali.it/(currently not available)
If you want to discover all the UNESCO sites of our Peninsula, take a look HERE