A Commanding Castle Lies Ahead South ! Procede!
"Why is it here?"
The castle can be seen from far off. It sits upon a prominent hill overlooking the Murge. After visiting its splendor one has a feeling of solitude. I am sure that was intentional for Fred , who participated in every step of its creation. Unlike other castles it is not at a strategic site, even though (aside from its front door) it is technically impregnable for the 13C. He could indulge his hobby of falconry on the roof, keep his menagerie nearby and lodge his harem sumptuously in the many royal rooms. There once were forests for elaborate hunting.There are theories that invove mathematics and mysticism to explain its genesis. Or was this to be a retiremnt home like the one Diocletian built in Split?
"Where and when"
The castle is 17 km S. of Andria,by the S170, out in the country, in the farmlands of Puglia. The nearest mountain is Mt. Vulture in Basilicata near Melfi, not far off. The cathedral towns of Puglia are close by in the 20 km or so to the coast (all visible from the upper parts of the castle). Our day trip out of Matera included Bari in the morning, Trani for lunch and mid-afternoon at the Castel.We passed through Andria on the way but did not stop. The castle-tower appears to be round from the distance but is a perfect octagon with octagonal towers containing large rooms on two floors in each tower. Although impregnable it could not have been built for warfare because it has no ramparts,defensive gates or archery slots. Was it all Fred's Syrian (pseudo-Crusader) memories?. The castle occupies a point on a mystico-religious series of map alignments of powerful or mystic structures. Much has been made of the number 8 in relation to it. Fred may have indulged in "Astronomy" from the roof , which is 80 ft. above the ground. (This can be realized by a picture from one of the 2nd floor balconies).
The castel is listed properly under Andria because it is part of that commune. Only if you are a Fred buff would you stop there to see the tombs of his two wives who died in childbirth; there is also a much remodelled Gothic Cathedral and some good restaurants, I am told (but we ate in Trani).