The History

Where once stood Fiorentino A few kilometres from Torremaggiore, on the farthest west side of a hill called the Sterparone, once stood the village of Fiorentino, Byzantine frontier hamlet that was a bishopric, a Norman county and belonged to the Swabian state land administration prior to be enfeoffed by the Angevins. The ancient citadel You might not guess, looking at what remains, but recent archaeological excavations have shown that where today are the remains of an old Frederician domus, once stood an important citadel with a cathedral, an urban area and, in the west, the “Palatium” of the emperor. That December 13th,1250 No one would say that in this disappeared village one of the greatest emperors of the middle ages exhaled his last breath: he was Frederick II, and here he died on December 13th, 1250 at only 56 years old. In Fiorentino the Swabian expanded and reinforced the old Norman castle: not finding it particularly interesting for defensive purposes, he did not include it in the system of castles but in the system of domus solaciarum of the Tavoliere. The last hunt of the Swabian The Swabian emperor was in Florentine for a hunt when he was struck by a violent attack of dysentery. His serious condition did not allow him to re-enter the palace of Foggia and it was decided to shelter him in Castel Fiorentino, the nearest imperial residence. The loyalty of Fiorentino The degradation of the citadel began five years after the death of Frederick II when it was attacked and destroyed by the troops of Pope Alexander IV because it had remained loyal to the Swabians. The same fate befell the inhabitants of Dragonara, another medieval village of which only a castle remains, used for agricultural purposes: all its inhabitants took refuge near the Norman-Swabian Castrum, in the shadow of the Benedictine Abbey, together with the inhabitants of Fiorentino and there the Abbot Leone allowed them to found a new village, today’s town of Torremaggiore. The last Templars In 1295 the Abbey was given to the Templars who stayed there until 1313 when they too were massacred and the looting of of the site began, up to total ruin. Among the items removed was even the great marble slab, used as a floor of the altar in the Cathedral of Lucera, which was reportedly Frederick’s dining hall. On the trail of the Swabians Today Castel Fiorentino is sacred to the memory of the Swabians and countless are the German-speaking tourists who go there following the still existing tracks of Frederick II, Manfred and Conradin. Source: “Sito archeologico di Fiorentino (Foggia)” by Alberto Gentile (Copyright ©2002 Alberto Gentile), published on