del Monte is a building from the period of Holy Roman Empire and it was built
by Federico II of Svevia and it was built near Andria, in south of Italy. It is
a mysterious castle that fascinated a lot of
historians for its mysteries and its secrets that try to guess the
reason that Federico II decided to build it. To describe this castle we can use only one word:
eight, because in its architecture, the number eight is always present (the
octagonal plan, with eight sides and eight towers at the corners, the eight
main rooms in which each of the two floors is divided, the numerous groups of
eight decorations in plant style outside and inside the building, etc.) but we
don’t know the symbolism or the reason of these choice.
octagon, the shape of the castle, on which the plan of the complex and its
elements is based is a strongly symbolic geometric form: it is the intermediate
figure between the square, symbol of the earth, and the circle, which
represents the infinity of the sky, and therefore would mark the passage of one
to another.The choice of the octagon could derive from the Dome of the Rock in
Jerusalem, which Federico II had seen during the Sixth Crusade, or from the
Palatine Chapel of Aachen.
2 – A brief mention of the story of Federico II
II of Svevia, son of Enrico of Hohenstaufen and Costanza of Altavilla,
decided to built the castle.From the
parents he inherited the Empire (Holy Roman Empire) and the Kingdom of Sicily. In
his life he dedicate a lot of time to control and to govern the Kingdom of
Sicily, where the power of Lords was much increased. For reduce the power of
the lord he decided to createa lot of castles
in the south Italy to control everything in the kingdom.
In 29 January of 1240 from Gubbio, Federico II
commissioned at Riccardo of Montefuscolo, the architect, to buy the material
for the start the works of the castle. In the document, that we have from the
time of Federico II, ” lime, stones and anything else necessary”. He
decided to built the castle near the church of Sancta Maria de Monte, which
today is disappeared.
there are several disagreements about the interpretation of the document that
Federico used to start the works of the castle. The historians discuss about
two points that are not yet completely clear, the work start date and the word ” Actractum
“.Many historians for example disagree about the chronology of the work.
While some believe that the document indicate the moment of the beginning of
the construction works, other indicated that in the date the document was
signed the works were already at an advanced stage. The construction, they
claim, had reached the roof level.
are also of semantic nature. Federico II used a Latin word – ‘ACTRACTUM’ -which
has many literary interpretations, as it can correspond to floor, ground
leveling, paving or simply to a more
general indication of building material.