Venosa

The ancient samnitic city of Venosa is positioned on a plateau at the foot of Mount Vulture. It boasts an extremely interesting past with visible layers of history richly placed one on top of another. Venosa was conquered by the Romans in 291 AC, and became one of the wealthiest and most important cities of the time. It was strategically positioned on the Via Appia, one of the busiest roads of the time and main communication channel between the Eastern and Western worlds. After being conquered, 20.000 roman citizens were sent here to populate the area making it a municipium, or roman city. Interesting ruins are found in the area like those of the Roman Amphitheatre, the Roman baths still bearing mosaics, and a baptistery from early Christian times as well as the ruins of the tomb of Marcello, Roman counsellor known as the ‘Sword of Rome’. Venosa is also the birthplace of one of the greatest Latin poets, Quinto Orazio Flacco (65 AC) and later became part of Federic II of Swabian’s Empire. The urban plan of the historic centre of town is one of the most interesting in the Basilicata region and is characterised by the visible alterations brought about by the numerous populations that occupied the area over the centuries. Several of the stone buildings in the medieval quarter are still intact, as well as some of the most interesting monuments in Southern Italy like the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, with it’s monastery and Byzantine dome and typical bifor and trifor windows. The inside of the antique church bears frescoes from several centuries, Corinthian columns and a large array of archaeological artefacts. It is also worth your while to take note of the numerous aristocratic buildings dating back to the 17th and 19th centuries, the 16th century churches (there are 35 of them in town!), the jewish and christian catacombs from the III –IV centuries AC and the stately castle once belonging to the Noble Aragon family built by Pirro del Balzo in 1470 and inspired by the Maschio Angioino Castle of Naples. The Castle is open to the public who are free to admire the renaissance living quarters and the National Museum of Archaeology housed inside.