Castel del Monte in Puglia is a castle located near Andria in the Bari Province. It was built in the 13th century by order of the Frederick II (during the Swabian domain in Puglia). And it’s probably the most famous buildings that the Emperor ordered to build during his long empire. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

Puglia Castel del Monte
Photo Credits Flickr
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The building, still perfectly preserved, is characteristic for its octagonal shape and is a splendid example of a medieval military building. Extraordinary mix of Northern Europe and Oriental architecture elements, the castle has an octagonal plan with eight towers, also octagonal, located at its vertices. Despite being named and known as being a castle there is no presence of a ditch or other structure to protect the building. Its origin is still shrouded in mystery and there are still many different assumptions about the real use of this building.

Castel del Monte
Photo Credits Flickr

The most common is that the building was a military fortress, some historians argue that the building was used as hunting fortress (mainly by the Emperor who loved hunting falcon), others support the idea it was a temple for religious services or a place where scientists could dedicated to science. In fact, many scientists argue that it was designed to be the largest astronomical observatory in Middle Ages. Fully restored, the castle is now open to public for visit. The image of the castle has already been depicted on the Italian stamps more than once in the past and since 2002 it also appears on 1 Euro cent coins minted in Italy.

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Places to see near Castel del Monte in Puglia

Here are some nearby attractions you might be interested in exploring:

  • Trani: A coastal town located about 25 km away from Castel del Monte. Trani is known for its beautiful cathedral and picturesque harbor.
  • Alta Murgia National Park: This national park is located about 40 km away from Castel del Monte and features stunning landscapes of rolling hills, wildflowers, and grazing sheep.
  • Bari: The capital city of Puglia, Bari is located about 70 km away. The city features a beautiful old town with winding alleys and a stunning basilica dedicated to Saint Nicholas.
  • Matera: This ancient city, famous for its “Sassi” – cave dwellings carved into the rock – is located about 90 km away from Castel del Monte.
  • Polignano a Mare: A charming coastal town known for its picturesque old town, beautiful beaches, and stunning views over the Adriatic Sea. It is located about 45 km away from Castel del Monte.
  • Alberobello: This small town is famous for its unique “trulli” houses – traditional stone dwellings with conical roofs. It is located about 60 km away from the Castel.

These are just a few of the many beautiful places to visit near Castel del Monte in Puglia.

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