Theme Week Basilicata – Venosa

Tuesday, 26 December 2023 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Piazza Orazio Flacco © Roberto Strafella/cc-by-sa-4.0

Piazza Orazio Flacco © Roberto Strafella/cc-by-sa-4.0

Venosa is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, in the Vulture area. It is bounded by the comuni of Barile, Ginestra, Lavello, Maschito, Montemilone, Palazzo San Gervasio, Rapolla and Spinazzola. It is a member of the I Borghi più belli d’Italia (“The most beautiful villages of Italy”) association.

After a series of different feudal lords, Venosa became a possession of the Orsini in 1453. Count Pirro Del Balzo, who had married Donata Orsini, built a new castle (1460–1470) and a cathedral. Then, under the Aragonese domination, followed the Gesualdo family (1561); amongst their number was the famous prince, musician and murderer Carlo Gesualdo. Despite the plague that had reduced its population from the 13,000 of 1503 to 6,000, Venosa had a flourishing cultural life under the Gesualdos: apart from the famous Carlo, other relevant figures of the period include the poet Luigi Tansillo (1510–1580) and the jurist Giovanni Battista De Luca (1614–1683). Venosa took part in the revolt of Masaniello in 1647. The Gesualdos were in turn followed by the Ludovisi and the Caracciolo families. Home to a traditionally strong republican tradition, Venosa had a role in the peasant revolts and the Carbonari movement of the early 19th century. A true civil war between baronial powers and supporters of the peasants’ rights broke out in 1849, being harshly suppressed by the Neapolitan troops (Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848). In 1861, after the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the Italian unification, Venosa was occupied by some bands of brigands under the command of Carmine Crocco in order to restore the Bourbon power in Basilicata.

Chiesa del Purgatorio © Anna Nicoletta Menzella/cc-by-sa-4.0 Venosa © D.N.R./cc-by-sa-3.0 Home of Horace Français © D.N.R. Palazzo Calvini © D.N.R./cc-by-sa-3.0 Piazza Orazio Flacco © Roberto Strafella/cc-by-sa-4.0 Statue of Horace Français © D.N.R. Aragon Castle © Generale Lee/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Chiesa del Purgatorio © Anna Nicoletta Menzella/cc-by-sa-4.0
Among the main sights are:

  • The Aragonese castle, built in 1470 by Pirro del Balzo Orsini. It has a square plan with four cylindrical towers. The shining sun, the del Balzo coat of arms, is visible on the western towers. It was turned into a residence by Carlo and Emanuele Gesualdo, who added also an internal loggia, the north-western wing and bastions used as prisons. From 1612 it was the seat of the Accademia dei Rinascenti. It is now home to the National Museum of Venosa, inaugurated in 1991, with ancient Roman and other findings up to the 9th century. The entrance is preceded by a fountain conceded by King Charles I of Anjou.
  • Many fragments of Roman workmanship are built into the walls of the cathedral, which is due to Pirro del Balzo also (c. 1470).
  • The abbey church of SS. Trinità is historically interesting; it was consecrated in 1059 by Pope Nicholas II and passed into the hands of the Knights of Saint John in the time of Boniface VIII (1295–1303). In the central aisle is the tomb of Alberada, the first wife of Robert Guiscard and mother of Bohemund. An inscription on the wall commemorates the great Norman brothers William Iron Arm, Drogo, Humfrey and Robert Guiscard. The bones of these brothers rest together in a simple stone sarcophagus opposite the tomb of Alberada. The church also contains some 14th-century frescoes. Behind it is a larger church, which was begun for the Benedictines about 1150, from the designs of a French architect, in imitation of the Cluniac church at Paray-le-Monial, but never carried beyond the spring of the vaulting. The ancient amphitheatre adjacent furnished the materials for its walls.
  • Baroque Church of the Purgatory (or San Filippo Neri)
  • The Archaeological Area of Notarchirico, in the communal territory. It covers the Palaeolithic period with eleven layers dating from 600,000 to 300,000 years ago. Remains of ancient wildlife, including extinct species of elephants, bisons and rhinoceroses, have been found, as well as a fragment of a femur of Homo erectus.
  • Remains of the ancient city walls and of an amphitheatre still exist, and a number of inscriptions have been found there.
  • Jewish catacombs with inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek and Latin show the importance of the Jewish population here in the 4th and 5th centuries.

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

Read more on Wikipedia Venosa. 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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