Theme Week Basilicata – Melfi

Friday, 29 December 2023 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Maria Belen Ramos/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Maria Belen Ramos/cc-by-sa-4.0

Melfi (Lucano: Mèlfe) is a town and comune in the Vulture area of the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. Geographically, it is midway between Naples and Bari. In 2015 it had a population of 17,768. Melfi is involved in the production of the “Aglianico del Vulture“, recognized as DOC, considered one of the greatest red wines of Italy, and the olive oil “Vulture”. Another renowned product is the “marroncino”, a type of chestnut used for many sweet and salty recipes and is precious for the industries specialized in the preparation of the marron glacé.

On a hill at the foot of Mount Vulture, Melfi is the most important town in Basilicata’s Vulture, both as a tourist resort and economic centre. Its municipality lies next to the borders with Campania and Apulia, and borders with Aquilonia (AV), Ascoli Satriano (FG), Candela (FG), Lacedonia (AV), Lavello, Monteverde (AV), Rapolla, Rionero in Vulture and Rocchetta Sant’Antonio (FG). Its hamlets (frazioni) are the villages of Camarda, Capannola, Foggianello, Foggiano, Isca ricotta, Leonessa, Masseria Casella, Masseria Catapane, Masseria Menolecchia, Parasacco, San Giorgio di Melfi, San Nicola, Vaccareccia and Villa Mariannina.

The Castle of Melfi was probably constructed ex novo by the Normans (11th century), as no trace of pre-existing Byzantine or Lombard edifices has been found. Originally, it was probably a simple rectangle with square towers, with further towers defending the main gate. One of the main internal buildings was later (16th–18th centuries) turned into a baronial palace by enclosing the walls between the towers within new walls. Under the Angevine rule a new section was added on the slope descending to the Melfia stream, with several constructions rising at different altitudes. The Castle was chosen by King Charles II‘s wife, Mary of Hungary, as her residence. The Aragon kings gave it to the Caracciolo family, who rebuilt the side facing the city and dug a moat. Later it was a possession of the powerful House of Doria.

The Duomo (Cathedral), built in the 11th century for want of Robert Guiscard, it was also rehandled in the baroque style after the earthquakes, with exception of the original Norman bell tower. The interior contains a magnificent 13th-century fresco, the Madonna with Child and Angels.

Castello di Melfi © Michele Perillo/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Aldo Montemarano/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Aldo Montemarano/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Giambattista Lazazzera/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Maria Belen Ramos/cc-by-sa-4.0 Palazzo del Vescovado, the Bishopric Palace © Generale Lee/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Palazzo del Vescovado, the Bishopric Palace © Generale Lee/cc-by-sa-3.0
The Palazzo del Vescovado (Bishopric Palace), erected in the 11th century but rebuilt in the baroque style in the 18th century because of the earthquakes. It contains paintings by Nicholas of Tolentino and Cristiano Danona.

The town winds along the Norman walls, with various gates, the most noteworthy being the Venosina gate (dating to the early 13th century), an ogival arch with two cylindrical towers on either side.

Since 1976 the Castle is home to the important Museo Nazionale Archeologico Melfese, with artifacts found in the area, from prehistoric times and all periods of settlement including the Daunian, Samnite, Lucanian and Roman periods. The most famous piece is the sarcophagus of Rapolla, a valuable example of imperial sculpture from the 2nd century CE, which came to light in 1856. There are collections of the archaic era (7th-6th century BC) with male and female funerary objects including amber pendants and the so-called Lavello cup. Of the 5th and century BC are the Hellenic-style finds – red ceramic figures called figulae and other princely objects. There are also Samnite artifacts from the 5th-3rd century BC, mostly in ivory and bone, as well as examples of Canosino pottery.

The rock church of Santa Margherita is completely dug out of volcanic tofa. Its architectonic structure and the style of its frescos are dated to the 13th century. It is the most beautiful and best preserved amongst the numerous frescoed caves found on the slopes of mt. Vulture, an evident result of an ancient and widespread monastic settlement. The phenomenon of rock churches in Southern Italy dates back to the monastic migration from Asia Minor and Balkans after the iconoclastic battles of the early 8th century.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Wikipedia Castle of Melfi and Wikipedia Melfi. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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