View of Rivello, Basilicata
by Jesse Andrews

Rivello, Basilicata
by Jesse Andrews

From a balcony at Rivello
, Basilicata
by Jesse Andrews

Most photos on VisitsItaly are
by Jesse Andrews. Please Contact VisitsItaly.Com for reproduction of any kind at:

Welcome to Rivello
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 3,114
Official site:

Rivello is located in a splendidly scenic position on the ridge of a hill that overlooks the whole Noce Valley and Mount Sirino.  The urban structure of the town is equally picturesque with the chuch of San Nicola dei Greci dominating the western height of the town. 

The town has an unusual history: born from a Basilian monk's laura and therefore a place of prayer and worship, it became a place disputed for centuries by Lombards and Byzantines because of its strategic position. Neither power was able to prevail over the other, so they reached an uncommon form of agreement.  The Lombards settled the upper part of the town, while the Byzantines concentrated in the lower. 

As a consequence, within this once very populous town, two  centres with two very different cultures developed.  Each center has its own major church.  The Lombards in the upper areas built The church of Santa Maria Maggiore, of Latin rite, and the Byzantines built The church of San Nicola which practices the rites of the Greek church, a tradition that lasted well into the 17th century.  Although all the local churches are now Roman Catholic, many reveal a Byzantine architectural influence

The traveler will encounter numerous smaller churches in the town, and will find that the vast majority are open all day and throughout the year.

Some interesting points:

The church in the complex of the former convent of Sant’Antonio, of the Observant Minors (15th century) on the façade has a 16th century portico, frescoed by Pietrafesa (17th century). 

The entrance has a fine wooden doorway flanked by two stone lions.  The interior is of the baroque style with two canvasses (The Sacra famiglia and the Immacolata) by the local painter Salvatore Ferrari in the 18th Century, and other pictures by Filippo Vitale, the Domenico Antonio Vaccaro and Domenico Mondo

The cloister was partially knocked down but the two remaining wings of the convent conserve cycles of frescoes by Pietrafesa and Giovanni Todisco Todisco's works include the Scene della Passione and the Ultima Cena which is hung in the refectory (1559). 

On the first floor the Civic Museum displays archaeological material found at Serra Città and Piano del PIgnataro, where archaeologists have found  numerous brick kilns active from the 3rd century BC.

The main church was built with a monumental flight of steps that incorporated the existing church of San Nicola dei Greci, covered with small cross vaults on columns.  The upper baroque church, circa 1744, has an interior rich in stucco work and impressive altars with an Adorazione dei Pastori by Salvatore Ferrari (1761) and a Pentecoste by Francesco Oliva (1763).

The Church of Sant’Anna presents an original decoration with architecture painted by Nicola Maria Rossi in 1733.  This church acted as the chapel to the noble Alfano family whose mansion is adjacent to the church itself.

The 16th-century chapel of Asanta Barbara was frescoed by Giovanni Todisco and his pupils.

The Church of the Annunziata has a frescoed triptych from  the 14th century and a sculpted group of the Annunciazione in painted stone which was done in the 16th century.

On the side opposite the main church stands the church of Santa Maria dei Poggio, built in  1726, noted for its apse which is built upon sheer rock.  A 16th -century altar piece on the main altar is attributed to Andrea da Salerno

At Vignaruola the country Church of Santa Maria del Popolo presents a stuccoed iconostasis with a fresco portraying spiritual power (pope and clergy) and civil power (sovereigns and dignitaries), flanking a Madonna col Bambino which was done in the 16th century.

Rivello is a small town, but full of many treasures - and well worth a visit, particularly for those who appreciate church architecture and art.



By Car:
Take highway A3 Salerno/Reggio Calabria exit at highway SS585 for LagoNegro.  Keep on this route until the exit appears for Rivello.

By train:
The closest train to Rivello would be either Praia a Mare or Maratea.  From the train station however, to arrive at Rivello auto-transportation is required.

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


Rivello church, Basilicata
by Jesse Andrews


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