Frederick II of Holy German empire, in Italy.
Frederick II (December 26, 1194 – December 13, 1250), of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was a pretender to the title of King of the Romans from 1212 and unopposed holder of that monarchy from 1215 as Holy Roman Emperor. As such, he was King of Germany, of Italy, and of Burgundy, and later even King of Jerusalem.
He was also King of Sicily from his mothers inheritance, and here he built a menagerie, as well as one in Kasseler Hof.
Frederick loved exotic animals in general: his menagerie, with which he impressed the cold cities of Northern Italy and Europe, included hounds, giraffes, cheetahs, lynxes, leopards, exotic birds and even an elephant.
In the first half of the thirteenth century, Emperor Frederick II had three permanent menageries in Italy, at Melfi in Basilicata, at Lucera in Apulia and at Palermo in Sicily. In 1235, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II established at his court in southern Italy the "first great menagerie" in western Europe. An elephant, a white bear, a giraffe, a leopard, hyenas, lions, cheetahs, camels and monkeys were all exhibited; but the emperor was particularly interested in birds, and studied them sufficiently to write a number of authoritative books on them.