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