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Frederick II's Castello in Trani


Link to Frederick's Castel del Monte






The original Trani Castle was built by the Sicilian King and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II between 1233 and 1249.  The basic shape of the structure has remained the same, though originally it was surrounded by a moat filled from the sea.  Pietro Tiepolo, son of a Venetian Doge, was hanged from one of the towers in 1240 on the orders of Frederick, and left there as a visible warning to passing Venetian ships to keep out.


In 1533 (when it was 300 years old - difficult to imagine a modern military structure lasting 30 years let alone 300) it was significantly renovated and strengthened on the orders or the Habsburg Emperor Charles V, who at that time ran much of the world.  This upgrade included the addition of the lower bastion nearest the camera above, and a similar functional structure diagonally opposite.  The purpose of these was to enable full artillery cross fire cover.  


In 1832 Frederick's Castello was demilitarized on the orders of the by then Bourbon ruler of Southern Italy - Ferdinand II, and became the main provincial prison .  It remained a prison until 1974, after which it underwent a lengthy restoration and was reopened as a museum and performance space in 1998.  So don't believe the guide books that tell you it is still a prison or closed !!






Crusader assembly port - major medieval port with a significat\nt Jewish community


Trani Cathedral (2003)

Trani Cathedral (2006)

Bronze Doors of Trani Cattedrale (c1180)

Templar Church of Ognissanti

Medieval Porto - Winter Dawn (2003)

Medieval Porto (2006)

Trani Restaurants & Hotel

Frederick II's Castello at Trani (this page)



Frederick's castello had a grand loggia structure (long since gone) over the first floor entrance to the grand hall from the grand courtyard.  Two and a bit of the structure's supporting corbels remain (below) including a one with an Adam and Eve relief (the other corbels formed an Annunciation).


It was in this hall that Manfred (Manfredi in Italian), Frederick's illegitimate son and the last of the Hohenstaufen Kings of the combined lands of Sicily & Southern Italy, married his love Helena in 1259, though in those days the hall had a wooden roof rather that the barrel vault the 1800s bestowed on it.  A bit later, it was the governor of the castle who betrayed Helena's presence when Manfred was killed at the Battle of Benevento in 1266, after which she was imprisoned with her young sons and died, still at a young age, in 1271.

The Castle Museum









Frederick, a man of eclectic and exotic tastes, would quite possibly have been turned on by this lighting display on the night of Ognissanti - November 1 2006.


Finally, here's a piece of trivia for those with a military engineering bent.  Whilst the four corner towers of Frederick's many castles all looked the same, one was in fact a master tower.  It contained food and water and could be securely closed off from the rest of the structure whilst the garrison awaited rescue.


Frederick did lots and lots of castles and the green ones can be visited.



Link to Castel del Monte



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