Andria (BT) - Castel del Monte

POLO MUSEALE DELLA PUGLIA
Director: Elena Silvana Saponaro
Ticket: 7,00 €; Reduced Ticket 3,50 €
Opening days and times: 1 April-30 September Monday-Sunday 10.15-19.45; 1 October-31 March Monday-Sunday 9.00-18.30; Ticket office: 1 April-30 September Monday-Sunday 10.15-19.45; 1 October-31 March Monday-Sunday 9.00-18.30; 
Andria(BT)
Address: località Castel del Monte
CAP: 70031
+39 0883569997
Fax: +39 08835245540
Email: pm-pug.casteldelmonte@beniculturali.it
web site: http://www.musei.puglia.beniculturali.it/ http://www.casteldelmonte.beniculturali.it

Description:

Castel del Monte has outstanding value for the harmony and the fusion of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and the classical antiquity. It is a masterpiece of medieval architecture, which reflects the humanism of its founder, Frederick II of Swabia.
In 1996, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Merida (Mexico), listed the castle commissioned by Frederick II of Swabia in 1240, into the World Heritage List.
The castle, known for its octagonal shape, is built directly into the bedrock, which is visible in many places inside the castle. On each of the eight corners, there is a tower inserted in the curtain walls in local limestone, marked by a string-course. There are eight single windows on the lower floor, seven panelled windows and one triple window facing Andria on the upper floor.
The octagonal courtyard is characterized by the contrasting colors arising from the use of crushed coral stone, limestone and marble. In the past, there were ancient sculptures but only a plate depicting the procession of knights and a fragment of an anthropomorphic figure remain.

On the upper floor, there are three door-windows, with protruding elements and some holes beneath, perhaps to hold up the wooden gallery. It is very likely that the halls were rendered independent, with all communication in a ring route except for the first and eighth one. Those were separated by a wall with a small round window most likely used to communicate.

There are sixteen rooms, eight on each floor, with a trapezoidal shape and tiled with an ingenious technical solution. The space is divided into a square central span, covered by a ribbed cross vault held up by semi-columns of crushed coral stone on the ground floor and trilobite marble pillars on the first floor. The remaining triangular spaces are covered by pointed barrel vaults.
Each cross is decorated with a different theme of anthopomorphous, zoomorphous and phytomorphous elements.

As in many towers, there are three winding staircases connecting the two floors. Some towers collect rainwater in cisterns which is transported to a large tank in the bedrock, under the central courtyard.
Other towers contain the bathrooms, accompanied by a small room used as a dressing room or washings. Taking care of the body was widely practiced by Frederick II and his court, according to the typical custom of the Arab world.
Although greatly depleted, there is a great interest in a set of sculptures that provides significant evidence of the original decorations of that time characterized by the wide range of colors and materials.
Employees: mosaic tiles, majolica tiles, glassy paste and wall paintings, of which 700 - 800 writers and local historians saw traces and described them in their works.
Currently, there are two anthropomorphic shelves in the Tower of the falconers. The Telamones, support the umbrella shaped vault of the stepped tower and fragments of the mosaic floor of a room on the eighth floor. Two important pieces of sculpture were temporarily deposited in the Provincial Art Gallery of Bari. They depict a head and a headless bust found during the extensive renovation, but don't show any trace of an octagonal basin in the courtyard, mentioned by local history writers in the past century.