The Alta Murgia National Park, a 1-hour drive from Bari, is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site Castel del Monte. From a height of 540 m, the medieval castle proudly overlooks the town of Andria, a centre for cheese-making and ice-cream specialities in Puglia.

In the 12th century, the Staufer emperor Friedrich II was on the search for somewhere to build a hunting lodge.  His choice of a hill just outside the gates of Andria was no accident. Even today, the views from windows of the castle’s four octagonal towers sweep far out over the olive groves to the countryside beyond and all the way down to the sea.

Castel del Monte is a well-known monument throughout Europe. Countless people have “pictures” of the castle in their wallets: the fortress is represented on the back of the Italian 1 cent coin!

More interesting information about the Castel del Monte can be found here.