VENOSA

Venosa is an ancient locality of Alto Brádano along the road which goes from Melfi to Puglia. It is definitely one of the main cultural metas of the entire Basilicata area due to its immense artistic and historical patrimony.

History

The territory where Venosa is positioned was frequented and inhabited since Paleolithic times in the Sansanello, Terranera, Salici and Loreto localities.
The Romans conquered it under Consul Lucio Postumio during 291 BC by snatching it away from the Sanniti and making it become a main city along the Appian Way which united Rome and Brindisi.

In his reports, Dionigi of Alicarnasso referred to Venosa as an important city capable of minting its own coinage, having its own laws and its own Senate as well as its own army. Therefore, even after the Roman conquest of it, Venosa was rendered autonomous and of remarkable importance firstly in the Republic then the Roman Empire structures.

During the Second Punic War and following the defeat of Canne (216 BC), inflicted by the Carthaginians on the Romans, Venosa became a strategic place due to the fates of the conflict and hosted consuls and Roman troops in clear difficulty for various years. Due to this reason, the city was attacked by Hannibal (207 BC), who however, was repulsed by Consul Cladio Nerone.

It participated in the Social Wars by rebelling in Rome (90-88 BC) but still obtained the status of Municipium which provided for the bestowal of citizenship and right of ballot to every citizen.
The Latin Poet Orazio Flacco (66 BC) was born during this century. He spent his adolescence in Venosa which was at the time rapidly expanding economically.

One must also realise that development continued for the entire Imperial Period, thanks to the strengthening of the Street Axis of the Appian Way, which came about at the beginning of the II century AD with construction of Via Traiana in Puglia.

Venosa passed unavoidably through the fury of the Visigoth (410 AD) and Vandals barbaric invasions, ending up being encompassed in the Ostrogoth Reign (476-553), in which it became the main administrative centre (493). The end of the Goth Reign, which came about with the Greek-Gothic War (535-553), signalled the beginning of an ephemeral occupation in Southern Italy by the Byzantines who quickly surrendered to the Longobard advancement (VI century). The latter erected the City as their Gastaldato (or Castaldo meaning an administrative ward governed by an employee of the Royal Court).
The Saracens plundered it during 842 and 985.

With the Battle of the Olivento River (1041), the Normans of Arduino took the City away from the Byzantines and began construction of the SS Trinità Abbey (1059), the principal religious monument in Venosa.

The Swabians of Frederick II and his son, Manfred (1194-1266) wanted to include it in royal property and had a Castle built on the ruins of a Longobard stronghold.

The Angioinians (1268) made it a fief of the Orsini who ruled it until 1443, the year in which Venosa passed in marriage dowry to the Pirro of Balzo family. They saw the construction of the Castle (1470), still visible today, which passed to the Gesualdo family, feudatories and princes of Venosa beginning from 1561. One remembers mainly Prince Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613) from this family who was a great madrigalist according to Tasso, and sad uxoricide (wife killer) of Maria of Avalos.

Between the end of the XVI and beginning of the XVII centuries, Venosa experienced its own cultural renaissance which saw the birth of some academies, among which that of Piacevoli and Soavi, the Accademia dei Rinascenti (Revival Academy) and a School of Law.

Venosa therefore quickly became a fief of the Ludovisi and Caracciolo families, who kept it until the subversion of feudalism (1806).

After major participation in the Carbonari (1820) and Unitarian motions, Venosa entered as part of the Reign of Italy (1861).

A visit to the City

The City possesses an immense historical and architectonic patrimony dating back to different periods.

Venosa was founded on a level border or edge of two Walloons, Ruscello and Reale. The Pirro del Balzo Castle can be found in the meridional part of the land rising over the ancient cathedral of the City. Today, it is also seat of the National Archaeological Museum.
Nearby, one can also visit the Angioinian Fountain (1298) and the Purgatorio Church.

The main monument of Venosa is the SS. Trinità Abbey, which is located in the northern part inside the Roman walls but outside the Medieval City walls, which still partially exist.
The following complete the picture of the more important religious monuments: Sant'Andrea Cathedral, San Martino San Biagio, San Filippo Neri, S. Maria della Scala and S. Michele Arcangelo located outside the defense walls.

There are numerous nobiliary buildings present in Venosa and fortune representing the new productive social classes from the XVII century.

From the ancient splendour, only the Archaeological Park remains, where one can admire a Roman amphitheatre, thermal baths and a Lapidarium Venusinum.

Place of interest

The SS Trinità Abbey; Roman Amphitheatre; Insula Horatii; Remains of the tomb of Marcello; Lapidarium Venusinum; Jewish and Paleochristian catacombs (III-IV century); Ex Briscese Collection; Aragonese Castle of Pirro del Balzo (1479); Angioinian Fountain (1298); Sant'Andrea Cathedral (1470-1502); Purgatorio or San Filippo Neri Church (1679); San Martino Church (XIII century); San Biagio Church; S. Maria della Scala Church; San Domenico Church and Convent; S. Michele Arcangelo Church; Communal Art Gallery; Gothich Arch; Palazzo Vescovile; Palazzo Calvino; Palazzo del Balì; Messer Oto Fountain (1313); Cardinal G.B. De Luca di Pasquale De Chirico Monument; Orazio Monument; Paleolithic Site in Loreto.

Museums

The National Archaeological Museum; Venosa Castle; Archaeological Park in Venosa.

Events

Feast of San Giuseppe on 19th March; Feast of the Madonna of Montalbo on Easter Monday; Feast of the Madonna delle Grazie on the first Sunday in May; Feast of Sant'Antonio on 13th June; Feast of the "Ciammaruchidd" (Snails) on 14th August; Feast of San Rocco on 16th August; Feast of the grape harvest in October; Fairs on 4th June, 16th August and 25th September.

VENOSA
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