Castello Normanno-Svevo or Swabian Castle is a medieval castle in Bari, Apulia, southern Italy.
It was most likely constructed in 1132 by Norman King Roger II, destroyed by Sicilian King William I in 1156, and restored and strengthened by Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick II in 1233. It underwent a number of changes during the Angevin era, and after being purchased by Duke Ferdinand of Aragon, it was given to the Sforza family and passed on to Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland. It was taken back by the King of Naples after Bona’s passing and converted into a prison and barracks.
Except for the northern portion, which was next to the sea and is accessible from the bridge and the gate on the southern side, the castle is encircled by a moat on all sides. Currently utilized for exhibits, it is mostly made up of the Aragon walls and the main Hohenstaufen tower.
Tradition has it that St. Francis of Assisi and Emperor Frederick II met here in 1221. The emperor dispatched a courtesan to Francis’s apartment and watched through a peephole to see what would happen. Frederick was moved by Francis’ morals as he sent the woman on her way, and they talked for the remainder of the evening.
Featured image: wikimedia
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