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Monte Sant'Angelo Castle, which towers over the city and the Sanctuary is overshadowed by the Tower of the Giants, whose origins date back to the mythical king Pylumnus II. It is historically certain that Ursus, the bishop of Benevento and Siponto, had the Castellum de Monte Gargano built between 837 and 838, and over the course of the centuries its original nucleus underwent continuous expansion and renovation.
Given the importance of the Sanctuary, it became the seat in turn of Norman, Suevian, Angevin, and Aragonese counts. According to the chronicles of the period,
Guiscard, the honorary lord of Monte Sant'Angelo, had it rebuilt and surrounded the city with walls in the second half of the I Ith century. Under Suevian domination
it assumed a role of such importance that it was classed as one of the castra exempta, for which the emperor himself, and not the provisores castrorum, nominated the
castellan, or castle lord, as is seen in the Decree of Frederick II, issued in Milano on 5 October 1239.
Under the Angevins it was mainly used as a state prison, and here Philippa of Antioch, the wife of Manfred Maletta, nephew of
Frederick II died as prisoner. In the 15th century, between 1491 and 1497, the castle assumed the form that it is still preserves
today. The impending danger of invasion by the Turks, and the invention of firearms, made major fortification works necessary
(which were most probably carried out by Francesco di Giorgio Martini) such as the construction of very high curtains with two
rows of windows, three large, solid towers, one of which, similar to a ship's keel, as a defence rampart, the moat, and the gateway complete with drawbridge.
Passing into the possession of George Castriota Scanderbeg and then of the great Captain Gonzalo de Cordoba, it was sold by his heirs to the Grimaldi princes,
who were its feudal lords until 1802, when lady Maria, due to debt, sold it to the Municipality of Monte Sant'Angelo.
In fact, it only truly passed into the possession of the commune in 1907 when it was repurchased from the heirs of Cardinal Ruffo, who has been granted the feud by Ferdinand IV of Bourbon.Abandoned to the elements and to the vandalism of shepherds and treasure hunters, the Castle suffered such damage that over the course of little more than half a century it was almost reduced to ruins. Because nothing is known about the original structure and about the layout and type of development that the fortress underwent over the centuries, present day restorations and further archaeological excavations can contribute to answering various questions and can reveal spaces and structures that are still unknown.
This is the only way to recover the key elements to complete our understanding of the history of Monte Sant'Angelo and its surrounding territory.
1 - Drawbridge and gateway
2 - Moat
3 - Gangway
4 - Aragonese tower (1493)
5 - Parade ground
6 - Restored room
7 - Square Tower
8 - Circular tower (1492)
9 - Gateway and gangway to the living quarters
10 - Inner circular tower
11 - Giants'Tower, Lombard original core
12 - Circular tower (1492)
13 - Treasure Room
14/15 - Annexed rooms of the Treasure Room
16 - North curtain Wall
17 - Northwestern curtain Wall
18 - South curtain Wall
Open all year
Everyday from 9.30 to 13.00 and from 14.30 to 19.00
Via Roberto Guiscardo - 71037 - Monte Sant'Angelo (FG)
Telephone: 0884.565444 - 0884.562062
Entrance fee - €1.80 per person