The hour of sunset is the most magical. The last rays of sunlight illuminate the splendid manor house, cutting through the sandstone, which gives off its wonderful reflections, turning golden and then turning red, and finally, when only the moon illuminates the night, its bulk rises from the valley below, guarding ancient secrets and great events, and it is then that history and legend merge, becoming charmed and fascination.
The Lagopesole Castle is the last and largest residence commissioned by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia in Basilicata, built between 1242 and 1250. A hunting and entertainment residence built in a suggestive position, in an area of great strategic importance since the early Middle Ages.
Its square, quadrangular and symmetrical shapes and isolated towers, reminiscent of the Byzantine castles of the East or the legendary Crusader castles, have the arcane power to take you to distant lands and evoke the sounds, languages and customs of Frederick’s multi-ethnic court.
The Castle of Lagopesole, the famous portum Montis Vulturis of the Middle Ages, is one of the most authentic expressions of Frederick’s architecture.
Thinking of the surrounding forest as an ideal place to practise his beloved art of hunting with a falcon, in 1242 Emperor Frederick II of Swabia began work on expanding the pre-existing Norman stronghold to transform it into his summer residence.

Rectangular in shape and divided into two courtyards overlooked by rooms on two floors, the castle has four square towers at the corners. Today, an imposing gateway, set between two tall, rectangular, narrower twin towers, gives access to a barrel-vaulted gallery leading to the large inner courtyard, which is also rectangular. The elegant zigzag portal of the palatine church overlooks the large courtyard. Consisting of a single nave, the semicircular apse preserves frescoes of holy figures dating from the 13th century. The different rooms of the superb building are accessed from the courtyard. Opposite the church, on the first floor, are the ornate mullioned windows of the huge Emperor’s Rooms, adorned with beautiful corbels that, among the most admirable examples of Frederick’s art, would have supported the archivolts. Adjacent to these rooms is the Queen’s Quarto, where the remains of devices for amplifying music and heating the rooms can be seen. On the main door is a sundial made of pink stone, which has always marked the passage of time through the centuries. The Salone degli Armigeri, with the stables on the ground floor, closes the courtyard on the third side next to the church. A curtain wall with an architraved door at its centre divides the main courtyard from the smaller courtyard. In the middle of the smaller courtyard stands the donjon, the imposing two-storey square tower, reminiscent of the castles of the Emperor’s Norman ancestors.