Who “re-evaluated” Castel del Monte after Federico’s period? The history of rediscovery

Castel del Monte did not have an easy life after Federico ‘s death : with the end of the medieval period and after the Renaissance period – from 1522 to 1876 the castle belonged to the Carafas , who in 1552 were nominated Dukes of Andria and Castel del Monte . Under Charles I of Anjou the ancient manor, already used occasionally as a prison in Manfredi ‘s time , was converted into a real prison:

Indeed, in 1277 the strengthening of the defense systems was ordered with “bertesce et 4 guayatorole” on the towers and gratings on all the windows ( Dokumente, 1926, no. 740). It is highly doubtful whether the elevations of two towers visible before the restoration, which began in 1879, contained traces of this intervention. After 1266, Manfredi’s sons Enrico, Federico and Enzo (Azzolino), who remained there until 1299, were imprisoned in the castle, as well as other supporters of the Swabians, including Enrico di Castiglia who was detained there from 1277 to 1291. At the time of Charles I of Anjou (1266-1285) the garrison of Castel del Monte consisted of a castellan and thirty soldiers, whose number was later increased to forty (Sthamer, 1914, p. 63). After centuries of relative oblivion – with a castle also used as a prison – the cultural and architectural rediscovery of the fort began after its first mention by Giovan Battista Pacichelli (who,as our fellow independent researcher Nicola Montepulciano recalled , he also had to tell about the ancient Figula art of working ceramics in Andria):

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Born in Rome to parents from Pistoia, he followed his legal studies in Pisa to obtain a doctorate in civil and canon law; back in Rome, he graduated in theology under the guidance of Cardinal Brancati . It was 1695 when, while also describing the Palazzo Ducale in Andria, Pacichelli expressed himself on Frederick’s manor through the publication ” FAMILY LETTERS , Historical, & Erudite, drawn from the Recondite Memories of the Abbot D. Gio. Battista Pacichelli on the occasion of the his Studj, Viaggi, e Ministri ””, Volume I., following the Socii Parrino, and Mutii, in Naples, M.DC.XCV., pp. 136-141. As also reported by the AndriArte.it website – edited by the illustrious prof. Sabino Di Tommaso , about Castel del Monte , Pacichelli wrote:

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“This climate was, on the highest hillock, and safe from any enemy invasion, from the City of Andria for nine miles distant, in the warlike agitations it was already a very dear shelter to Federico Cesare Barbarossa (1  ) . more jealous, and grateful custody, a stupendous palace, which retains the name of  Castel del Monte, with the dominion of various hills, which form a worthy crown. Its plant is octangular: the material is made of marbles of various colors, joined together without lime, with the light of the Egg, and made almost in a single piece, and cast, with an extraordinary quantity of Porphyry, inside and out. Eight towers flank it with perfect symmetry, each of which includes two chambers divided in the face, and leaves above a cistern of water shared with wonder: walking around the walls, cornices, wrapped and perforated very vaguely inside, and other ornaments of out, which make that body majestic. The Towers are joined by several large chambers with proportionate distances, and many windows give them light, with whole columns that open it, and others of these in marble and tripled porphyry make up the corners, closing niches embellished with bizarre bases,– and again, Pacichelli added:

“There is a very noble Atrium, and suitable for a magnificent palace, and a well-equipped castle, withthe doors of pure, and fine metal. A spring of cold water, and lightly adorns it in the middle, in sufficient quantity to quench an army’s thirst. Two large staircases around it, and several smaller ones, give way to its Upper Quarters, and to the immense scope of the rooms, which has made some Passengers desire the thread of Ariadne, to discover the most regulated disposition: in a room of the which can be seen sculpted by the aforementioned Emperor, with various of his Soldiers and Ministers. For these it is the appropriate place of accommodation: corresponding to the Workshops below, both for each work, and for the necessary preserves, for the benefit of the usual inhabitants, and of the Forestieri, co’ Forni, Mills, & other comforts. There are very large Stables, and not a few vast and hidden sites, indicated by openings in the ground, and with glimpses of a very detached building: having provided for any military necessity. Everything shines with singular order. It enjoys a remote and pleasant prospect, in several Provinces, of various Lordships, on land and at sea, being even sometimes escorted by Sailors amid storms. He owns many Territories, with the title of Duchy of Castel del Monte, retaining the Castellano there, with a good salary, and valuable deductibles. Not only is Fabrica very considerable in the Kingdom, which Augusta Relic of such a great Monarch in Italy, and for this reason it is known by the French themselves, and by the more curious Oltramontani, to whom it is not disgraceful to come and see it, and to the More critical intellects among ours. Some have called it Armida’s Palace. Others have believed that with the same erudition of Vitruvius, the famous Buonaroti could have been found there again. VS however, who sees good things from afar, and rare in this Direction, let him be satisfied with this Idea and dispose, if he is able, to reduce it to the best form with his Judgment. And I kiss her hands very affectionately. Nap.[oli] last January 1691″.

Pacichelli’s description opened the door to a first systematic description of the building by Troyli (1749) who. Placido Troyli (Montalbano Jonico, 22 May 1688 – Scafati, 1757) was an Italian abbot and historian. Placido Troyli became a Cistercian monk in the abbey of Santa Maria del Sagittario di Chiaromonte, at the age of seventeen. He wrote numerous books, including a voluminous  General Historyof the Kingdom of Naples, a work appreciated and cited by many subsequent authors. After becoming abbot of his order, the Cistercian order, for political reasons he was deprived of the dignity of abbot and forced to shut himself up in the convent of Santa Maria di Realvalle near Scafati, where he died in April 1757. In the publication

“…and to the Lordship of the Casino, which is in the Territory of Andria in Puglia, and which Castel del Monte  is commonly called, as it is placed on top of a mountain, from which all of Puglia is discovered: usual room of Emperor  Frederick II . in winter time when there, due to the Hunt, it wriggled; to be good only in State time, that of Lagopesile. According to the tradition of those Villagers. that the Empress Joela died there (formerly mother of   King  Corrado) on the occasion of Parto, and which was then transported to Andria to be buried, where his Avello was seen for many Centuries: but then, when that Cathedral Church was recently renovated, whoever took care of the work, did not bother to keep it alive for posterity the memory of this worthy monument.
VII. The aforesaid Casino, or  Castel del Monte  (which I saw in the month of April 1743. and carefully considered it, today very abandoned, and beaten up) is designated in the manner of Fortress. and in an octangular shape, with eight very large towers in its eight corners, each tower having six corners:
the Walls are twelve palms wide with advantages, but stretched with noble mastery. and the same, with stones all square, which appear to be cast. not factory. In the Towers there are various Crossbows, arranged with the same symmetry. The Gate, which looks to the East, and through which the Rocca can only be approached, is of very superb mixed marbles, with two very beautiful Lions of the same marble, the usual undertaking of the Swabian house. It has its Guardhouse outside, and its Retreat inside. The Courtyard is also octagonal, as outside, with its Cisterns in the middle for the service of the Stables, and of the other Offices: considering that, since this large Building is located on a stone, it cannot have Fountains for its need. Below are eight very large rooms. just the octagonal Idea, which is equally evident throughout the factory. Each of these rooms costs an imperfect framework: with having the wall, which corresponds to the outside part. wider than that, which narrows in the inside part: but with four very large marble columns mixed with its four sides, with beautiful carved capitals, and very solid framed bases. And because the rooms are vaulted; from each of these Columns rise three Cordons of smooth stone, like majestic Arches, two on the side Walls to support the vault. and another to make his cross in the middle of the Lamia, nailed to it by a large flower of stone, which hangs in the middle of the room. VIII. The upper quarter (in which two towers are climbed inside the spiral stairs, marvelously constructed,) also comes to be made up of eight very beautiful rooms,
with eight other small rooms ahead, built inside the eight lateral towers, each of them corresponding to one of the eight larger rooms, through which one enters: but built in the shape of church domes, and not as high as there are rooms foretold. More in each of these eight upper Stanzas. instead of the four large Columns, of mixed marble, which are seen in the basements for each Room, twelve Columns of very white Marble, in the likeness of perfect Alabaster, three can be seen on each side joined together with a single Capital, and a single Base, from which rises the same finish of arched cords, and which form the Cross in the middle with the Stone Flower, as in the lower rooms. Each of these rooms with two equal doors of marvelously worked mixed marble, through which one passes into the other adjacent rooms, and goes around the whole Palagio: As there was still the iron railing, in the part of the Courtyard, one went around the Castle. Four of the cross-rooms have their corresponding marble windows in the courtyard, and in the form of balconies, by which one exits onto the railing; and four of them correspond to the outside between one Tower and the other: however the one, which regards the Ponente, and the other corresponding to the Scirocco, due to the Winds, are smaller than the other two, which aim towards the East, and the North. Likewise, the eight dressing rooms of the towers have their windows corresponding to each other: and in the side wall to enter the room. a commonplace for natural needs. in every one of the eight Rooms has its path corresponding to its Window: in such a way that those Rooms, which have Windows in the Courtyard, keep the path in the Wall outside; and those which have windows in the Wall outside, have the path in the corresponding Wall in the Courtyard. Likewise, in each room there is a credenzone or cabinet in an oblong shape hollowed out in the wall and worked in porphyry, like the paths are also worked: the walls of the rooms having been all encrusted with very white marble up to the height of the columns, and the first order: with the vaults of the rooms being worked in mosaics. In addition, all eight rooms have a built cordon around them, like a step, covered in white marble, high and wide in proportion to being able to sit comfortably, without using chairs or benches. still, in the reserve of paths, jambs, windows, and doors of Porphyry and other stones, in the Walls, and in the Steps, a few flakes of marble can be seen today, as a sign of having been there, for having been taken away and taken away. [I]X. Through the eight towers you climb above the Castle:
where the open roof is found, but paved with well-placed stones, and made in a herringbone pattern: in such a way that from the inside side it throws rainwater into the courtyard: which collects in the cisterns existing there; and from the outside, being prevented there by a low wall, which ends there with the eight towers, the waters join by means of small canals, and discharge into four hanging cisterns, which are in four of those towers. high up to above the Cupolini, which end the Stanzolini, a little lower than the chambers, as mentioned in number 8. Being these four cisterns in four diametral towers built; but with such mastery of work, that even today after the course of five centuries, they retain the waters perfectly; which then pulled by hand from those Conserves, due to a Fistula, built in the Muro, they were passed through the Quarto di mezzo and the lower Offices. Being in the other four Towers (the same number of rooms for the soldiers on guard, or for the people on duty: each one with its own step around which to sit, and with its necessary cloaca. And from these dressing rooms, (through which one descends with a small spiral) up to the high ground of Stanzolini, as far as the Cisterns are high in the other four Towers; there are four beautiful Colombai, where pigeons nest. (for which one descends with a small spiral staircase) to the high ground of Stanzolini, although the Cisterns are tall in the other four Towers; there are four beautiful Colombai, for nesting pigeons. (for which one descends with a small spiral staircase) to the high ground of Stanzolini, although the Cisterns are tall in the other four Towers; there are four beautiful Colombai, for nesting pigeons.
X. This, then, is the Model of the noble  Castel del Monte , in whose Idea all Architecture was destroyed: in whose construction immense treasures were profuse, and to make it comfortable for a Monarch every industry was employed. Francesco Loffredo , Captain of  Charles I of Anjou having retreated   when Apulia was revolted, at a time when the little  Corradino was coming to the Kingdom , as we have from  Matteo Spinelli  [p131a]  in saying: At six August Messer Francesco Loffredo left Castel del Monte , and wanted to go and face the Count, who was staying at the Lionessa residence”. The two Italian publications inspired German architects to delve into the history of Castel del Monte:


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Little has been published about the life of Heinrich Wilhelm Schulz . It is possible that he first studied architecture and gradually devoted himself to the whole history of art through educational trips to Italy. According to records, in scientific correspondence with Carl Friedrich von Rumohr he was already director of the royal antiquities and coin collections in Dresden in 1846. In this capacity he campaigned for the building of the Semper Gallery.

Denkmaeler der Kunst des Mittelalters in Unteritalien  (Dresden 1860), can rightly be considered the founder of the history of medieval art in southern Italy. Through the publication, Schulz became, in fact, the first scholar to systematically study the medieval monuments of the ancient Regnum Siciliae and to investigate their construction phases, furnishings, ornaments, reproducing them in extremely precise drawings and comparing the data collected by the direct observation with those deriving from the critical examination of textual sources to apply a historical methodology based on the distinction between erudition and philologywhich informed his intellectual baggage. Schulz has devoted particular attention to medieval art in Puglia, studying the great religious architectures and the material survivals of their secular history. He intended both narratively and visually to revive an artistic landscape, a  Kunstlandschaft , which was determined by a complex historical stratification, where the artistic testimonies did not reflect the development of the historical flow, but were considered part of this flow, constituent elements of a geopolitical framework. Among the monuments, there was also the Frederick manor located in the territory of Andria.

Schulz died at the age of 46. After his death, his Prussian colleague Ferdinand von Quast published Schulz’s main scientific work on the art monuments of southern Italy in three main volumes, produced in collaboration with Anton Hallmann, a volume of documents and an atlas. Heinrich Wilhelm Schulz was a “Saxon Royal Counselor” and a member of numerous scientific academies and associations, including a fellow of the Archaeological Institute of Rome and of the Royal Society for Nordic Archeology in Copenhagen. Another well-known German citizen of the 19th century also expressed his opinion on Castel del Monte:

Anton Hallmann (1812 in Hanover ; † August 28, 1845 in Livorno ) was a German painter , draftsman and writer. After an apprenticeship with the architect  Ludwig Hellner  in Hanover, Hallmann attended the  Munich Academy  . In 1833 he went on foot through  the Tyrol  to  Italy  , where he stayed in  Rome  until 1836 , interrupted by trips to  Sicily  . In 1834 he collaborated with the art historian Wilhelm Schulz of  Dresden  to publish a work on the  monuments of medieval art in southern Italy. However, the work did not appear in print until the 1860s. In 1837 Hallmann returned to Munich, but the following year he went to Petersburg, then to England and France. Returning to Rome in the spring of 1841, he painted architectural paintings in oil, including the garden of the monastery of Fossa Nuova. In 1842 he published the essay  Artistic efforts of the present  . In 1843 he traveled to Rome again and completed several large oil paintings, among which the painting  A Day in Cyprus  is characterized by richness of composition and luxuriance of imagination. In 1844 he painted a large dilapidated villa in the evening light for the  King of Prussia. In 1845 he was one of the founders of the Association  of German Artists  in Rome. He died of malaria on the return journey to Germany in the same year . Anton Hallmann’s brother was the natural scientist and hydropathic physician Dr.  Edoardo Hallmann (1813-1855). There are still some works by the German artist dedicated to the description of Castel del Monte:


their reports, which Schulz and Hallmann presented in Rome in the winter of 1835/36, formed the basis and ideas for two Frenchmen, the historian  Huillard-Bréholles (1817-1871) and the architect Victor Baltard  (1805-1874), the who, following in the footsteps of the two Germans, were able to create their own documentation of the Castle with detailed plans of the building and publish it in Paris as early as 1844. Honoré Théodoric d’Albert , Duke of Luynes had sponsored this project financially. By Baltard there is still a particularly suggestive work documenting the conditions of Castel del Monte in the 19th century (on the left, the work, on the right, Pacichelli):

Last but not least for the period of the rediscovery of the historic building, in 1876 Castel del Monte was purchased by the Italian State for 25,000 lire which started the restoration work , which had further developments from 1928 until the 1980s . Since 1996 it has been part of the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and since 2002 its effigy has appeared on the euro cent. It is therefore pleasant to think that the work begun at least by Pacichelli has, over the centuries, led to a revaluation of Castel del Monte, today confirmed by a satisfactory international popularity, also confirmed by numerous events dedicated to it, as well as an equally exceptional tourist attraction.


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