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Middle Ages


Interculture Project : Middle Ages

From the 25th October to the 1st November the Majorana High School organized the exchange week with two European partners: Belgium and Poland. This year the topic of the exchange programme was “The Middle Ages”. Each country prepared a powerpoint about different aspects of life in that historical period:  superstition, women’s condition, food and living habits.

During the workshops at school all the topics have been presented and discussed  and students divided into groups of different nationalities have worked together producing explainities related to Middle Ages.


The climax of the project was the parade of teachers and students dressed in Middle Ages costumes and the Medieval meal  which contributed to recreate a magic atmosphere at school.

  Pranzo Medioevale — Istituto Majorana, Bari



Of course some days of the exchange week were dedicated to the visit of our amazing land  through a Middle Ages  path starting from  Frederick II castle in Bari 




Probably built in 1132 by Norman king Roger II, it was destroyed in 1156 by king William I of Sicily and rebuilt and reinforced in 1233 by the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II . 

The castle is surrounded by a moat on all sides, except the northern section, which was bordering the sea and can be accessed from the bridge and the gate on the southern side. It is mainly composed of the Aragon walls and the main Swabian tower, and is currently used for exhibitions.

There is a story that, in the year 1221, Emperor Frederick II met Saint Francis of Assisi in this castle. According to tradition, the emperor had a courtesan sent to Francis's room and watched through a peephole to see what would happen. When Francis sent the woman away, Frederick was impressed with his principles; the two spent the rest of the night in conversation. This story is not confirmed beyond doubt, but it is considered believable.


going on with “ Castel del Monte” 

castel del monte


Castel del Monte (Italian: Castle of the Mount) is a 13th century castle situated in the Apulia region of southeast Italy, in the town of Andria, near to Bari. occupying the site of an earlier fortress of which no structural remains exist.

It was built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II between 1240 and 1250; it has been despoiled of its interior marbles and furnishings in subsequent centuries. It has neither a moat nor a drawbridge and may in fact never have been intended as a defensive fortress. It is described as” the most fascinating castle built by Frederick II";  the site has been  protected as a  World Heritage Site since 1996.  It also appears on the Italian version of the one-cent euro coin. 

Among the Federician castles in Puglia, Castel del Monte is a nonpareil. Found on a hill, which is 540 metres high, . Almost surely the intention of building the castle was matured after the Frederic 's return from the Fourth Crusade (1229) and by proof of faithfulness and obedience by the population of Andria towards the Emperor.

The fortress is an octagonal prism with an octagonal tower at each corner. The towers were originally some 5 m higher than now, and they should perhaps include a third floor. Both floors have eight rooms and an eight-sided courtyard occupies the castle's centre.  Each of the main rooms have vaulted ceilings. Three of the corner towers contain staircases. The castle has two entrances, an unobtrusive service entrance and an ornate main entrance. Frederick's main entrance featured elements from classical design, and may have been influenced by Frederick's interest in Greco-Roman architecture. 




Through our Medieval Towns and Cathedral like



Giovinazzo is a charming medieval village by the Adriatic Sea, between Molfetta and Bari, from which is less than 20 km distant, and it has a characteristic small port and a wonderful fortified seafront.

Of uncertain origins, legend says that the city was founded in Roman times by the Noto, who fled from their city Netium during the Punic Wars, and gave  it the name of Jove-Neutium, or Neo-Netium, New Netium.

In fact the history of the city is characterized by three main periods: the Roman one, when it was called Natiolum, the Medieval one, when changed its name in Juvenatium and the modern one.

 The most important period was the Medieval one, during which a new city was built on the Roman ruins that were lost for ever. The city was guided first by Normans later by Svevi who incentivized the construction of churches among which the actual Cathedral.










trani1 trani2




The main monument of Trani is the Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim, a Greek who died in Trani in 1094 while on his way on pilgrimage to Rome, and some years later canonized by Urban. It lies on a raised open site near the sea, and was consecrated, before its completion, in 1143. It is a basilica with three apses, built in the characteristic white local limestone. It has also a large crypt and a lofty tower, the latter erected in 1230-1239 by the architect whose name appears on the ambo in the cathedral of Bitonto, Nicolaus Sacerdos. It has an arch under it, being supported partly on the side wall of the church, and partly on a massive pillar. The arches of the Romanesque portal are beautifully ornamented, in a manner suggestive of Arab influence; the bronze doors, executed by Barisanus of Trani in 1175, rank among the best of their period in Southern Italy.


At the end of the week everybody was very happy  of the wonderful time spent together and we said goodbye to our partners with the hope to see all again soon.


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