The Castles of Italy
Castles to Check Out in Italy
Castel del Monte
Situated amidst the unspoiled Italian countryside of pine woods and fields stretching as far as the eye can see – the imposing and peculiar Castel del Monte has sat since 1240. Castel del Monte was built by Emperor Frederick II near Bari in Apulia, Italy. Once a symbol of opulence with marble walls and columns; the castle has been stripped by vandals. The Castel del Monte is a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site and can be viewed on the Amazing South of Italy tour with Celtic Tours.
A unique piece of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a successful blend of Gothic and Islamic architecture and influences. It is considered one of the most imposing structures of its kind in all of Italy, though it has neither a moat nor a drawbridge and was never intended as a defensive fortress.
Emperor Frederick II imbued Castel del Monte with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. The use of the octagon shape is unusual in castle design. One theory for the use of the octagon is that it is an intermediate symbol between a square (representing the earth) and a circle (representing the sky). Frederick II may have been inspired to build with the octagon by either the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem or the Palace Chapel of Aachen Cathedral, in Germany.
It was never finished and was used primarily as a hunting lodge by Frederick until his death in 1250. It was later turned into a prison, used as a refuge during a plague, and finally fell into disrepair and stripped of its rich marble walls and columns by vandals.
Castle on the Sea
Romantics and history buffs alike can appreciate Rapallo’s Castle on the Sea. Walk along the elegant seafront promenade adorned with palm trees and flower beds, admire the breathtaking view of the bay and feast your eyes on the symbol of this small town, the Castle on the Sea.
Built in 1551 on the rocks surrounded by the sea as a guardian of the picturesque town of Rapallo from pirates. The Castle on the Sea has been declared part of Italy’s national heritage.
Catch a glimpse of this piece of Italian romance and history on your visit to Rapallo in Italy’s Cinque Terre on your honeymoon or romantic vacation with Celtic Tours new honeymoon package, Cinque Terre Romance.