The swabian castles net

Frederick II's fame is bound above all to the construction of castles, dislocated according to a rational program of military defence and of administration of the territory and in functional relation with the pre-existing road network of the Roman age. Although in  great part of the cases it was not matter of ex-novo foundations but of restoration of Norman settlements, the exactitude of the location plan and the strong connotation of the figurative aspects have impressed such a marked stamp on the pre-existing structures as to wipe them out almost completely.
Castles and palaces, although conceived by the Sovereign as a visible sign of his "sacred" royal power, according to a strongly symbolical and propagandistic idea of the architecture, always succeeded in combining the need for showing off and functionality. In fact they were structures combining different purposes: defensive, residential and administrative ones. Castel del Monte is the most emblematic demonstration of these various functions.

Frederick's  castle system consisted of a tight net of settlements, in which the castles were  integrated with other kinds of structures, in order to assure a widespread control, both military and administrative, on the whole territory from the coast till the inside regions of Basilicata.
In the Statutum de reparatione castrorum (Regulations for the repairing of the fortresses), a precious document relating to the years 1241-1246, we read that 111 castle structures existed in Apulia and Basilicata distributed in a not homogeneous way and not only related to military needs. In this respect the presence in Capitanata (one of the four districts in which Frederick had divided all the region) of 23 castra (fortified castles) and 28 domus (houses) against the 13 castra and the 3 domus in Terra di Bari, attests the preference of the Sovereign for this area of Apulia in which he liked applying himself to his favourite entertainments.



Castel del Monte
Castello di Bari
Castello di Barletta
Castello di Gioia del Colle
Castello di Lucera
Castello di Manfredonia
Castello di Trani