About Castel del Monte
Castel del Monte in Puglia, Italy is a medieval palace originally built as a hunting lodge by the Emperor Frederick II and later used as his seat of power. Built in the thirteenth century and completed in 1240, Castel del Monte has been described by UNESCO, with whom it is listed as a World Heritage site, as a “unique piece of medieval military architecture”.
History of Castel del Monte
Frederick II used his knowledge of culture, natural sciences and mathematics to create a number of castles of which Castel del Monte was the largest. With its set of perfectly octagonal towers, it was also a great example of symmetry in medieval building.
Castel del Monte is not only extremely well defended, with thick limestone walls and a position on an, albeit low, hill, but it blends the influences of the cultures to which Frederick II had been exposed and had learned about. This palace also employed many sophisticated functions from around the world, as demonstrated by the oriental-inspired complex hydraulic systems of the bathroom facilities.
After the death of Frederick II, Castel del Monte served primarily as a stronghold and military base until the 19th century.
Castel del Monte today
Visitors to Castel del Monte can tour its two floors. Much of the original splendour, such as its marble walls, has now disappeared, but traces appear here and there: the interior is relatively bare. Information boards are primarily in Italian. The castle is open daily and attracts relatively few visitors – allow an hour for your visit.
It’s worth walking around the exterior and taking in the glorious views of the Puglia countryside.
Getting to Castel del Monte
Most visitors drive to Castel del Monte, but if you want to take public transport, you’ll need to head to Andria, the nearest town, which is 12 miles north of the castle. From there, bus service 6 departs to Castel del Monte semi-regularly from outside the train station, but only in the summer months.
Discover the most impeccably preserved and incredibly ornate castles around the world, from Germany's picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle to France's towering Mont Saint-Michel.