The Castle, in its grandeur, is the medieval image of the city of Bari. It is an austere fortification characterized by important geometries. It is worth visiting and admiring it from all sides and from all points of view.
The Norman Castle stands on the remains of ancient Byzantine structures and is the result of several phases of construction that took place between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. Originally, it was built by Roger the Norman in 1131, and is architecturally characterized by a quadrangular layout with square towers at the ends. Between 1233 and 1240 the Norman Swabian Castle was renovated by Frederick II of Swabia who added the original gate with a carved archivolt, the cross vaulted vestibule and the loggia overlooking the courtyard, with capitals of refined workmanship signed by Minerrus da Canosa, Melis da Stigliano and Ismael, and the Swabian Hall which is located on the north side. Between 1501 and 1549 Isabella of Aragon and her daughter Bona Sforza, duchesses of Bari, established a refined Renaissance court in the castle and, to adapt it to the introduction of firearms, fortified it with a ramparts and a large moat.
The Swabian Castle hosts important temporary exhibitions and the Museum of Gypsum Library, whose collection consists of plaster casts of ornamental sculptures from religious and civil monuments in the region. It is also the seat of the Superintendency for Artistic and Historical Heritage of the Apulia.