Irsina is a centre of the Bradano Valley,
known by the name of Montepeloso until 1895.
Its territory was inhabited by the Enotri and Lucani populations,
as testified by funerary finds dating back to the IV and III
centuries BC. It prospered during both the Greek and Roman
eras, but very little is known from these ancient times.
During the High Medieval period, it belonged to the Longobards
from the Benevento Principality, and beginning from the IX
century, it suffered Saracen raids, which led to Irtium being
besieged and destroyed by them in 985.
It was reconstructed three years later by the Longobard Prince
Giovanni II of Salerno due to its importance in the territory
of defence of the Byzantines. Irsina was stage of the clash
between the Normans and Byzantines (1042), with the outcome
in favour of the first mentioned.
The first noble of Montepeloso was Torstaino Scitello, followed
by Goffredo, Count of Conversano (1068-1104) and Boemondo
The City became an Episcopal seat in 1123, under the wishes
of Pope Callisto II.
In 1132, Montepeloso adhered to the conspiracy of the barons
against King Ruggiero II, and was occupied by the rebel Count
Tancredi of Conversano. The following year, the King’s
troops destroyed the City and slaughtered its inhabitants.
It was reconstructed by the Swabians who strengthened the
walls and erected the Castle.
The Angioiniansans assigned the fief to Pietro of Belmonte,
Count of Montescaglioso, and then to Giovanni of Monteforte,
Count of Squillace. During 1308, it passed to the Del Balzo
family, under whose government the City prospered until the
XV century, when the Aragonese rose to power.
All in all, the new nobility didn’t bring fortune to
the village and Don Luigi Gaetani sold the city to the Grimaldi
family from Genoa for the sum of 122.000 ducats during 1585.
In 1644 Montepeloso became a Royal (Directional) seat, then
20 years later was acquired for 70.000 ducats by the Riario-Sforza
families, who ruled it until the abolition of feudal rights
During 1799 Montepeloso adhered to the Republic of Naples
and planted a Freedom Tree in San Salvatore square.
After unification into the Reign of Italy (1861), it experienced
the insult of the brigandage phenomenon.
A visit to the City
One enters Irsina through Porta Maggiore and almost immediately
finds oneself outside the Romanesque Cathedral dating back
to the XIII century. This cathedral preserves the only known
unique statue of Mantegna.
There are other churches of noteworthy interest: the Purgatory
Church, S. Andrea (1566) and the San Francesco Church and
Convent containing a crypt with frescoes in its interior.
A visit to the Ianora Museum, should not be forgotten. Here
one can admire the collection of Daunii and Enotri vases,
Magno-Greek, Roman and Medieval coins which it preserves.
Outside the village one can visit Monte Irsi where the S.
Maria Church is located, which already existed during the
X century, as well as the ruins of the Benedictine Abbey and
Place of interest
The S. Maria Assunta Cathedral (XIII century); S. Francesco
of Assisi Church and Convent; S. Agostino Church; SS. Immacolata
Church; SS. Addolorata Church; Madonna del Carmine or Purgatorio
Church; SS. Annunziata Church; Madonna della Pietà
Church; S. Nicola de’ Morgitis Church; SS. Salvatore
or S. Lucia Church; S. Andrea Church; S. Rocco Church; Calvario
Church; Episcopio (Episcope); Palazzo Ducale Nugent; Walls
and Gateways; Clock Tower, Fountains; Excursions to Monte
Irsi; S. Maria d’Irsi.