Castello Normanno-Svevo

Castle in Bari

Bari - Castello Normanno-Svevo
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ysogo

Also known as the Hohenstaufen Castle, the Swabian Fortress was built around 1132 by the Norman King Roger II. The castle was destroyed in 1156 by King William I (“The Wicked”) of Sicily during his campaign in Bari but was restored by Emperor Frederick II in 1233.

The castle is surrounded by a moat and features a tower bastion at each corner of its walls. Notable towers include the “Tower of Minors,” which served as a juvenile prison; “Traffic Light,” a maritime aid; the “Tower of Saint Francis,” said to have sheltered the saint as a guest of Frederick II; and the “Tower of the Wind,” located on the northwest corner, aptly named for its exposure.

The ogival arch west gate opens into a vestibule characterized by high cross vaults, columns, and pilasters. A loggia overlooks a Renaissance courtyard with an Aragonese staircase. North of the courtyard is a passage leading to the 10th-century Church of Saint Apollinaris. Today, the castle houses the Bari Directorate for Architectural and Landscape Heritage.

A fascinating legend tells that in 1221, Frederick II hosted Saint Francis of Assisi at the Swabian Castle. The Emperor, testing the saint’s virtue, sent a courtesan to seduce him. As she approached Saint Francis’s bed, it appeared to be covered in flames, causing her to flee in terror. Frederick, who had been spying on the encounter, was deeply impressed by the saint’s piety. The courtesan, however, could not be reached for comment.

The Castello Normanno-Svevo appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Bari!

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Visiting Castello Normanno-Svevo


Daily 9:00 – 19:00

Closed Monday, Tciket office closes at 18:00


€ 10

Address: Castello Normanno-Svevo di Sannicandro, Piazza Castello, Sannicandro di Bari, Metropolitan City of Bari, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes
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