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The Norman Castle Svevo of Barletta


It is very difficult to give a precise date to the origin of the Castle of Barletta, looking at it in its current state gives the idea of something from the 15th century, but its actual origin goes back several centuries.

Local historians speak about a "powerful rock erected by the Normans in the second half of the 12th century, to defend the city, a military stronghold in the defence of the Ofanto" at a time when "there were frequent pirates raids along the Adriatic coast".

The first written record can be found in a decree dated 1240, when Frederick II included the building amongst the castles under the Jurisdiction of the Terra di Bari.

Amongst the records of the time remains the only Svevo Eagle, a symbol of Frederick’s authority, now walled up in the lunette of the right hand window of the hall entrance.
With the Angioini the castle, like the rest of the city, had a new thirst for the works of Pietro d’Agincourt, the famous French Architect, who contributed to the diffusion ,especially in southern Italy the gothic language.

The right hand man of Carlo d’AngiĆ², L’Agincourt, who had two houses in Barletta modified and enlarged the castle.

It was the Aragon’s who made use of the original defensive use of the castle, turning it into an impenetrable fort, a real war machine.

In 1461 Ferdinand of Aragon the day after his coronation, which took place in the adjacent cathedral, was attacked by a regiment of filo-angioini, and took refuge until Scandeberg intervened.

In memory of 1527 as written on a plaque in the entrance, even known by the Emperor Charles V, who ordered that the fort be enlarged with the building of four angled bastions and a moat.

There was no notable interest shown in the castle until 1867, when during a public auction , the Comune di Barletta (local town council), bought it for the sum of L30.000, then they handed it over to the military authorities who turned it into a warehouse for weapons and a prison.

In 1976 a complex renovation took place to consolidate the structure, and it was turned into the headquarters’ for the city’s museum/gallery.



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