The esoteric mystery: Castel del Monte

The esoteric mystery: ‘Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte, located in Apulia near Andria, is one of the most iconic and mysterious castles in Italy. It was built in the 13th century at the behest of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia. This monument is a masterpiece of medieval architecture and represents an exceptional synthesis of different stylistic elements decided directly by the emperor. He actively cooperated in its construction, demanding great attention to grandeur, majesty and architectural features related to esotericism.

Construction of the castle began in 1240. It should be noted that the building has an octagonal structure, hence the connection, according to historians and scholars, to esotericism. In particular, looking at it from above, it resembles the famous: eight-pointed star, reminiscent of the Sabbath symbol.

We must emphasise, however, that this monument sums up the emperor’s passion for mathematics, astronomy and art.

Castel del Monte was not designed as a military fortress, but as a hunting lodge or a place of study and reflection. Its strategic location, on a hill overlooking the surrounding landscape, offers breathtaking panoramic views ranging from the Murge to the Adriatic coast.


Castel del Monte is shrouded in numerous legends and mysteries, which contribute to its enigmatic charm. One of the most discussed aspects is the esoteric significance of its octagonal plan.

The octagon, a geometric shape that joins the square to the circle forming an eight-pointed star, is often associated with perfection and harmony, but also with black magic or Sabbaths.

Many scholars believe that Frederick II chose this shape to symbolise the fusion of heaven and earth. Some theories suggest that the castle was used for astronomical studies, thanks to the precise arrangement of its windows and openings that allow sunlight to illuminate certain parts of the interior of the rooms, but only on certain days of the year.

Others speculate that Castel del Monte was an initiatory temple or a centre for esoteric studies, where the emperor and his wise men could devote themselves to the pursuit of knowledge.

The ‘Saracen’ castle

One of the legends circulating as to the veracity of the ‘reason’ why Frederick II decided to build the castle, which today belongs to the Unesco World Heritage, stems from the discovery of some artefacts belonging to a temple.

In ancient times, there was a temple with a statue on which words were engraved that were apparently meaningless, but actually led to a treasure. This ‘riddle’, which reminds us of the legend of the Templars with their enigmatic riddles, was later solved by a Saracen.

The latter, however, according to legend, was unable to solve the riddle on his own. In a dream, the solution appeared to him. Once the hidden treasure was found, which was then used to pay for the construction of the castle, the statue crumbled and the temple collapsed in on itself. From that rubble came the foundations for the construction of Castel del Monte, which perfectly respected the original shape of the ‘Saracen temple’.

It is not clear whether Frederick II himself was influenced by this legend or whether it was he who found this treasure, but he was certainly influenced by it as he decided to build an architecture combining different styles. They range from Romanesque to Gothic architecture, with Islamic and classical influences. This mixture of styles reflects the cosmopolitan and multicultural vision of Frederick II, who was known for his interest in the cultures and knowledge of the entire known world.