Torremaggiore e Fiorentino


Also named Torre Fiorentina (about 10 km south of Torremaggiore , in the province of Foggia), Castelfiorentino is the current name of an abandoned site, where you can see the remains, recently excavated, of a small medieval town called Florentinum (Fiorentino). Its history is discreetly recorded by private documents, deriving especially from the first half of the 13th century. Located on an elongated spur, it was built, like all other Byzantine towns of the Capitanata area, on a orthogonal plan, with a large longitudinal path and perpendicular lanes. Undoubtedly, at the end of the spur (to the west) there was a Norman castle built some decades later; on the other extremity, probably since the end of the 12th century, the city was extended by a suburb, clearly visible on the aerial photographs. Its decline began in the second half of the 13th century.

We don’t known when but, during the reorganization of the Capitanata area, Frederick II decided to build a domus solaciorum (a palace dedicated to the Emperor’s recreation) in the city, on the pre-existing castle structure.

The fully buried Frederick’s domus came to light when the highest part of the site was excavated. Frederick II, who had many  domus , especially in the Capitanata area, where he used to reside more often, would not have had the opportunity to visit that of Castelfiorentino (likewise, he never visited Castel del Monte), if his disease had not forced him to spend there the last days of his life. At the beginning of December, during his staying in his winter domus in Foggia , he decided to go hunting, but a fever hit him, so he had to stop at Castelfiorentino, in the domus that he would have then visited for the first time.

In regards to the place of the Emperor’s death, a legend was born that perhaps has veritable basis. According to this story, astrologists announced to the Emperor that he ought to ‘wither’ in a place “sub flore“, which means located under a flower or, in any case, connected to the term “fiore” (italian word for flower). Frederick, wishing nothing but immortality, would have then constantly avoided Florentia ( Florence ) and Florentinum ( Fiorentino ), but he felt into an unexpected trap and he really died  “sub flore”, precisely in Castelfiorentino.