Ministry of Culture
General Directorate

Regional Directorate of Puglia Museums

Director Luca Mercuri
Via Pier l’Eremita, 25/B, 70122 Bari
+39 0805285231

Swabian Castle of Bari

The Castello Svevo (Swabian Castle) of Bari is characterized by many unique elements: its dual significance as an imposing monumental complex with a recognized historical-architectural-archaeological value, the deep-rooted material and symbolic relationship with the surrounding urban context; and simultaneously a container museum, since it hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions in all its spaces, as well as national and international events.

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Built on the edge of the oldest part of the city of Bari, on pre-existing housing structures of the time Byzantine (VIII – X century) of which traces remain in some internal excavation areas, the foundation of the Castle dates to 1131 with Ruggero il Normanno.
Several times besieged, destroyed and rebuilt during the XII century, in the XIII century the castle became one of the castra exempta of Frederick II of Swabia, who initiated a restructuring program of defensive castle system of the Kingdom of Sicily and leaves a strong mark on the Castle of Bari,
still visible today on the original entrance, in the vestibule and in the loggia.
With the arrival in the city of the Duchess Isabella d’Aragona and her daughter Bona Sforza, in the 16th century, the Castle becomes the seat of their court and takes on the appearance of a Renaissance residence. Subsequently, the Castle undergoes a substantial abandonment until the Bourbon period, when it becomes a prison first and then barrack site.
In the second part of the XX century, the Castle was chosen as the site to host a first nucleus of art pieces and was first opened to the public in 1957.
For many years it housed the offices of the Superintendency. In 2017 extensive renovations
allow public use of the entire first floor of the Castle.

Photo Gallery

The two clay tiles covered with a green and transparent display case, both decorated with a crowned figure in relief, could be two test samples to cover the stoves that heated the great halls of the Castle in the sixteenth century.

Among the precious items exhibited in the Torre dei Minorenni are these double pendant earrings with a pelta plate and blue gems, coming from a female burial of high social rank, from the late ancient necropolis of the basilica of San Leucio in Canosa di Puglia.

The Gipsoteca houses a collection of plaster reproductions of the sculptural apparatus of the most important Apulian monuments and cathedrals created in 1911 by the sculptors Pasquale Duretti and Mario Sabatelli, on the Regional Ethnographic Exposition for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Unification of Italy


Inaugurated and reopened to the public in 2011 after extensive restoration and functional adaptation works, the Gipsoteca exhibits part of the extraordinary collection of plaster casts taken from the most famous Apulian monuments, created by the sculptors Pasquale Duretti and Mario Sabatelli on the occasion of the Regional Ethnographic Exhibition which was held in Rome in 1911, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Unification of Italy.

Info and Contacts

P.zza Federico II di Svevia n.4 - Bari
Telephone: 080 8869304
Director: Alessandra Mongelli

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