Gravina Castle (Italy)

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The remains of the castle of Gravina are located on the back of a hill 450 meters above sea level, about a kilometer from the town, along the road that leads to Spinazzola.
The keep was built between 1224 and 1231 by the Florentine architect Fuccio on behalf of Emperor Frederick II, and was intended to be a hunting lodge with an adjoining birding park and an artificial lake.

The castle of Gravina, together with the domus of Foggia, the castles of Lucera and Castel del Monte, turns out to be one of the Frederick buildings erected from scratch. Its structure has a rectangular plan measuring approximately 58 x 30 meters, surrounded by a 3 meter high wall. It is set on two levels: the upper floor was used as the residence of the emperor and the court was illuminated by large windows, the lower was intended for stables, servants' quarters and warehouses and has narrow windows in some places. It is said that a room in the castle was intended to house the Emperor's falcons.

For the construction of the castle the typical "mazzaro" tuff of the place was used, the stones were used only for the bases, the pillars and the stairs. The main body of the manor extended on three sides of the rectangle and had a large rectangular courtyard in the middle. The palace was already accessible in 1227, so much so that Frederick II stayed there for the first time that year. The domus of Gravina can undoubtedly be considered one of the loca solaciorum, which Frederick preferred and in which he often resided with his court, moreover, the emperor destined it to host the meetings of the Curia twice a year, in May and November. general during which the executioners of the provinces gave an account of their work.

Unfortunately, the serious state of neglect which lasted for centuries, together with a systematic stripping of architectural friezes and stone elements that decorated the building, has resulted in progressive degradation. The castle suffered serious damage from the earthquake of 1456 and perhaps from that date it remained partially uninhabited. Starting from 600 the castle was abandoned to a slow and progressive decline, so much so that it was used as a quarry from which to remove building material; the almost complete destruction was perhaps due to a violent storm of 1687.

The castle belonged to the Orsini family until 1806 when it passed to the Pomarici Santomasi family who donated it to the city. Only recently the excavation and restoration activities have restored part of its ancient splendor to the building, it will be included in the Gravina Archaeological Park.

Images of the castle


Useful infos

Latitude: 40.8336779
Longitude: 16.4201145
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Map of Gravina Castle