Santo Stefano Castle

Monopoli, Italy

The Castello di Santo Stefano is an important coastal fortress outside the city of Monopoli in the Italian region of Apulia. Throughout the Middle Ages it was an essential component of the city's complex and articulated defense system.

The castle, which was built in 1086 at the behest of Goffredo, Count of Conversano, is located on a peninsula between two bays of the Adriatic Sea that form two small natural harbors. Since there is a fresh water spring there, a Benedictine monastery settled there; the friars gave the castle its name because there was a relic of St. Benedict there, which was brought from Monopoli to Putignano on December 26, 1365 to protect it against the constant attacks of the Turks and pirates To defend.

Around the end of the 13th century the Johanniter decided to go to the abbey relocate by re-fortifying the old coastal fortress. They created a moat that is still visible today and prepared the bays on both the left and right of the monastery fortress for ships to dock. In practice, in the time of the Greeks or the Greek Orient, the monastery fortress became a necessary stop for those traveling by ship from Bari to Brindisi. In addition to having two bays for mooring, there was the possibility of repairing several ships at the same time and equipping them with everything they needed for the journey to the Holy Land. The surrounding area was incorporated into the chapter of Monopoli Cathedral in the 13th and 14th centuries. With this voluntary annexation, the abbey with the lands and the castle was the first city in Apulia to come under the administration of Bourbon-Sicily.

The building has a quadrangular plan and has a large courtyard inside, with an old well. There are a few parts which date back to the Middle Ages, such as the altar and the portal of the church, of the 13th century, with a precious low-relief in the lunette which represents the Saints Stefano and Giorgio.



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Founded: 1086
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gennaro Gaeta (9 months ago)
Beautiful medieval castle overlooking the sea.
Ayrton Lemaire (11 months ago)
Cove with beach and view of the castle. Parking is chargeable (€5 per day at a single rate). There is a crowded beach with paid loungers, but it is possible to easily get away from the crowds by going a hundred meters to the left on the rocks. You will then be very quiet and the water is very beautiful!
Ivan Fritz (2 years ago)
Fortress inaccessible, dirty surroundings and beach. Garbage is everywhere. FUJ
Pippo Calbo (2 years ago)
The castle of Santo Stefano, also known as the Abbey of Santo Stefano, is an important coastal fortification located outside the city of Monopoli. Throughout the Middle Ages it was an essential component of the complex and articulated Monopolitan defense system. The abbey stands on an area known in the late Roman period with the name of "Rocca" or Turris Paola. Remains of opus reticulatum in the basement of the Abbey itself, testify to the presence of a castrum near the "turris Paola" itself, an emporium of the Adriatic or at least a satellite port of nearby Egnazia. The monastery was founded in 1086 by Goffredo, count of Conversano, was built on a peninsula extending between two inlets that form two small natural ports, namely the current Santo Stefano and Ghiacciolo beaches. With the presence of a well from which to draw groundwater, it was the seat of the Benedictine monastery, who gave the fortress its name for the presence of the saint's relics, then moved on 26 December 1365 from Monopoli to Putignano to defend them from continuous aggressions Turks and pirates. Around the end of the 13th century, the Knights of Malta, who already owned a domus intra moenia used as a hospital, in order to control the traffic to the Holy Land more thoroughly, decided to move to the abbey and refortify the old coastal defensive manor. They created a moat that is still visible today and made both the coves to the right and left of the monastery-fortress useful for mooring. In practice, in the Greek or Greek-Levant days, the abbey-fortress became an obligatory stop for sailors from Bari to Brindisi. The presence of two coves also provided the possibility of repairing several ships at the same time and supplying them with everything needed to embark on the journey to the Holy Land. The surrounding area, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was incorporated into the chapter of the cathedral of Monopoli. With the voluntary annexation, the first city in Puglia, the abbey with the land and the castle passed under the Bourbon administration. Currently the castle is owned by the de Bellis family. [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] It also deserves a lot for its location on a blue flag sea, and then the story feels in the air and full of spiritual and historical values.
Francesca Gramegna (5 years ago)
A stunning venue for luxury events in Apulia!
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