The castles of Andria and Trani

Visiting the castles of Andria and Trani was like plunging into the past and reliving history. 
Castel del Monte (Andria), dates back to the 13th century and is located on a 
mountain on the Murge plateau. Built by Emperor Frederick II, it was included in the 
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It has an octagonal plan and the interior space 
is divided into 2 floors. Limestone is the predominant material. The marble and the 
coral breccia cover all the internal walls. It is called a "castle", but in reality the exact 
function of the imposing building is still unknown. The building has never been a 
fortress. Due to the strong symbolisms it has been hypothesized that the building 
could be a sort of temple or, perhaps, a temple of knowledge in which to devote 
oneself to the study of science. A recent hypothesis would assign to the building the 
function of a wellness center for the regeneration and care of the body.

The castle of Trani was built in 1233, under the reign of Frederick II of Swabia. It is placed
at a short distance from the famous cathedral, located in the center of a bay whose 
shallow waters proved to be an excellent natural defense against enemy attacks. The 
Castle uninterruptedly played its role as a military garrison, with the exception of the 
years 1586-1677, when it was the site of the Sacred Royal Audience of the province 
of Bari, until in the nineteenth century, it was used as a provincial central prison, until 1974.
Renovated in 1979 by the Superintendence for 
Environmental, Architectural, Artistic and Historical Heritage of Puglia, it was opened 
to the public on June 5, 1998. It has a quadrangular shape, reinforced at the top by 
four towers. The surrounding wall can be walked on equipped with arrows and 
embattled. The water moat is flooded by the sea.