Frederick II of Swebian, also known as "Stupor Mundi", loved to spend much time in his beloved Puglia (Apulia), where today is still possible to visit many of the monuments and historical places linked to him. The tour begins with Altamura, the first apulian city soon after leaving Matera direction Bari.

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One of the most representative monuments is the imposing Cathedral dell’Assunta, the only cathedral constructed by the Emperor Frederick II: an outstanding example of Puglia’s Romanesque and Frederick’s Gothic architecture, which boasts one of the richest portals in Apulia with all the main stories of the Gospels are magnificently sculptured on it. All around the medieval city centre, made of narrow alleys and small enclosed courtyards called “Claustri”, composing a defensive system for the city, similar to a labyrinth.

After Altamura, the tour goes on across the National Park of the Alta Murgia: a limestone plateau similar to the Park of the Murgia Materana and of the Rock Churches, with expances of fields and rocky outcrops, grassland characterized by the sheep paths, ancient carob trees, bushes of lentiscus plant and colourful wild orchids in spring. In the past this plateau was inhabited from dinosaurs and as a withness of this about 30.000 foot prints of this animals were found in a quarry in the area, as well as in a cave not far from the city centre of Altamura a skeleton of he Paleolithic was discovered, confirming us that the whole area, not far from the Park of the Murgia Materana and of the Rock Churches and Matera (recognised from the scientists as the third oldest city in the world), was full of life.

In about one hour drive you will reach Castel del Monte, another extraordinary monument linked to Frederick II of Swebian.

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Situated on a hill on 540 m a.s.l. Castel del Monte dominates the surrounding countryside, isolated but impressive. Many are the theories trying to explain the 2 floor octagonal shape of it: a defensive fortress? A hunting lodge? Or a secret centre where experts of maths and astronomy used to meet? Included in 1996 in the Unesco World Heritage list, this castle is the most visited in Apulia and will let you immerge in a magic atmosphere.

The tour continues with Trani to visit one of the most beautiful coastal villages of Apulia.

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The city centre is enclosed between the 2 piers of Saint Lucia and Saint Antony, where you will admire the colourful fishing boats and teeming sea-side life made up of fisherman, fish mongers and passers-by during the day. The masterpiece is for sure the majestic 12th Century Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino in Romanesque style, which appears as if suspended over the sea. It is composed of 3 different churches built one on the other protected by the Norman castle in front of it.

After the Cathedral, the tour goes on in the old Jewish quarter called “Giudecca”, where 2 of the old 4 synagogues are still existing, among which 1 still active, until to reach the port again for a last walk before going back to Matera.

Days available: Every day. Possibilities of pick-up from accomodations in the surrounding area of Matera according to your needs.
Time Length: 
8 hours plus the transfer times from Matera's surroundings.
Difficulty: Easy. All the sites of this tour take place on flat areas, apart from Castel del Monte, where the problem can be solved by getting a shuttle bus connecting the parking place with the Castle.
Don't forget:  Comfy shoes, camera and during summer water, cap and sun cream.
Price:

The tour is but, upon request and according to availability, it is possible to make a Tour Sharing with other guests. Children under 15 free (accompaigned from an adult).

If you don’t have a car to reach the cities of the tour, it is possible to book a shuttle or minibus.

It is possible to visit only one of the cities and monuments indicated in this tour by combining them with other tours (a suggestion is to combine some of the Tours of Matera. Please contact me for more information.