From April 20 to 22, 2022, Prince Albert II of Monaco was visiting Puglia, before reaching Genoa, April 23. The stay of the Monegasque sovereign in Italy is part of his travels in the historical sites of the Grimaldi.
Albert II visits Puglia in the footsteps of the Grimaldis
The descendants of Otto Canella, consul of Genoa, in 1133, are known as the Grimaldis. The name of the dynasty comes from Grimaud (Grimaldo, in Italian), one of the sons of Otto Canella. Several Grimaldis ruled Genoa for several generations, before moving to the four corners of the Mediterranean, in disagreement with the new rulers of the Genoese republic. One branch of the family seized the fort of Monaco in 1297 and settled there permanently in the early 14th century. Other branches of the family ruled over similar or even larger fiefdoms around the Mediterranean. Today, only the Grimaldi branch of Monaco is still sovereign.
The Monegasque branch itself received fiefs all over France and Italy, as a thank you for its various political alliances. This was notably the case in the 16th century, when Charles V gave the Grimaldis of Monaco several seigneuries and other territories in southern Italy.
All of the fiefdoms that belonged to the Grimaldis are known today as the Grimaldi Historical Sites, and are enhanced by the activities of an association founded in 2015. Sovereign Prince Albert II regularly visits these towns, setting out to discover his ancestors. This April 20, Albert II visited Terlizzi, a town located in the province of Bari, in the region of Puglia.
Prince Albert and the mayor of Terlizzi, Nicola Gemmato, unveiled the “Grimaldi Historical Sites of Monaco” sign, which will be displayed in the town from now on. Prince Albert visited the church of Santa Maria di Sovereto, where he was presented with a lapidary inscription of the Grimaldi coat of arms.
From the church, he walked to the old castle, where he unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit. From there, he continued his walk to the cathedral. On the facade is the coat of arms of the archpriest of Terlizzi, who officiated here in the 17th century. The churchman was the cousin of Prince Honoré II, who at the time was the Monegasque sovereign.
In the village, Prince Albert II also paid his respects at the war memorial and laid a wreath of flowers, while the local band played the European, Italian and Monegasque anthems. At the Pinacoteca, Prince Albert listened to the speech of the mayor, who recalled the previous visit of the prince.
In June 1997, when he was still the heir to the throne, Albert had already visited Terlizzi as part of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the Grimaldi dynasty. At the end of the day, Albert II left Terlizzi for Trani, in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani. After greeting the mayor of Trani, Amadeo Bottaro, Prince Albert II visited the Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino.
Before ending his day with an official dinner with his Monegasque delegation, Albert walked to the Castello Svevo, located just a few steps from the cathedral, in the center of the port of Trani. The mayors of Trani, Canosa di Puglia, Terlizzi, Poggiorsini and Spinazzola were invited to the table set in honor of the sovereign.
Albert of Monaco in Conasa di Puglia and Andria
On April 21, Prince Albert II began his second day in Puglia, visiting the town of Canosa di Puglia. Accompanied by the mayor, Roberto Morra, Prince Albert unveiled the sign of the “Grimaldi Historical Sites of Monaco”. The Prince was expected at the Town Hall, where a plaque commemorating his visit was unveiled, also recalling his visit in 1997.
During a walk through the streets of the city center, he stopped at the war memorial to lay a laurel wreath. Prince Albert then visited the secondary school which offers courses in hospitality. In memory of his visit to the school, the school has renamed its reception room “Salle Prince Albert II de Monaco”.
At the end of the morning, Prince Albert II “on the site of Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, west of Bari, for a guided tour of this remarkable building of the thirteenth century, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996,” says the Princely Palace in its statement.
After a lunch offered by the municipality of Andria, Prince Albert visited Garagnone Castle, located in the heart of the Alta Murgia National Park, near Spinazzola and Poggiorsini. “The castle of Garagnone owes the origin of its name to Roberto Guaragna, one of the Norman knights who arrived in Italy in 1048. It was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1731. Today, only a few underground rooms and part of the walls are still visible,” says the Palace. The official part of his trip resumes on April 23, this time in northern Italy, in Genoa.
Photos credis: Axel Bastello / Princely Palace