Doorway in Melfi, Basilicata

Castello di Melfi, Basilicata

Cathedral at Melfi, Basilicata

Ruins at Melfi
, Basilicata




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Welcome to Melfi
Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 16,566
Official site: Melfi

Wikipedia:  Melfi

On a hill at the foot of Mount Vulture and in the shade of a mighty Norman castle, Melfi is the most important town in Basilicata's Vulture Province, both as a tourist resort and economic centre

Inhabited by the Daunians and Lucanians,
pre-Roman tribal groups, and then a succession of competing empires, it gained importance in the Middle Ages as a strategic point between areas controlled by the Byzantines and those controlled by the
Lombards.  Later it was a fortress on the borders between the Normans and Swabians.

In 1059,
Melfi became the capital of the Duchy of Puglia.  In 1231,
Frederick II proclaimed the Constitutions of Melfi (or Constitutiones Augustales) here, reinforcing control over his ever-expanding territory.  He created a bureaucracy of paid officials, who among other things imposed a tax system on the local feudal rulers, who resented it but could not resist.

Later, the town shared the fate of the entire Kingdom of Naples, falling into a long period of decline, and suffering terribly from a number of earthquakes.

The town enjoyed a revival of sorts from the beginning of the 19th century, and recently has gained additional prosperity because the giant Italian auto firm, Fiat, built a factory here.

Those who travel to Malfi will find many interesting and some spectacular things to see.

The town winds along the Norman walls, with various gates, but the one to see is the  Venosina gate, an ogival arch with two cylindrical towers on either side.  Inside, be sure to visit the Palazzo Vescovado, which was originally built in the 11th century, but rebuilt in baroque manner the 18th century.

You will also want to visit the Duomo, also in the baroque style but with the original Norman bell towers.  Inside the Duomo, one encounters a magnificent 13th century fresco, the Madonna col Bambino e angeli.

Dominating the whole town is the castle, well-conserved, with eight towers, moat and masonry bridge.  Since 1976, the castle has housed the Museo Nazionale Archeological 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 AD,which only 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.  One will also see Samnite artifacts from the 5th-3rd century BC, mostly in ivory and bone.  Also, look for the  Canosino pottery, with its lovely female figures and faces.



By Car:
Take highway A3 Salerno/Reggio Calabria exit at highway SS93 for Potenza follow this same highway through Potenza. Stay on this route, until signs appear for Melfi.  

By train:
There are no frequent or easy trains to take to Melfi

By airplane:
The closest airport is Naples, Capodichino airport.


Melfesi woman, Basilicata



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