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Lavello, Province of Potenza, Basilicata

The small town extends along a rocky headland which overlooks the central valley of the Ofanto river and is an agricultural and farming centre famous its artisans, specialized in hammered copper and wrought iron.

Info

  • Population: about 13,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 85024
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0972
  • Demonym: lavellesi
  • Patrono saint: San Mauro, celebrated on 2 May
  • Frazioni: Diga del Rendina, Gaudiano
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Provinces of Basilicata
Basilicata region
Matera | Potenza

History

Its name derives from "labellum", the Latin word for a drinking-trough, because here sheep on their way to Apulia stopped to drink. On the opposite hill there was the ancient center of Forentum, while Lavello was built in the Middle Ages also as a resting spot and standpoint along the transhumance route from the mountains of Basilicata to the Tavoliere plain in Apulia.

The territory of Lavello was dominated by large landowners, and that is why in 1799 the poor peasants sided with the French establishing a republican regime, and again in 1861 welcomed the Crocco band of brigands. Since the late 19th century farm-laborers then took the way of emigration to America and the Italian north.

What to see

  • The Norman castle, rebuilt by Frederick the Great and renovated in the 15th century by the Del Balzo-Orsini, whose coat of arms can still be seen in the portal. At that time the windows were turned into balconies. The castle has two underground tunnels, one military and the other for private use of the lord - they say to let in newly-wed brides for the jus primae noctis. Today the castle is the seat of the townhall, and also hosts an Antiquarium with items of the Greek period.
  • The Santuario di Gravetta, behind the cemetery on a plateau overlooking the Ofanto valley, belonging to the Roman Forentum, actually a temple of the 3rd century BC dedicated to the cult of waters, as shown also by two water cisterns.
  • Four ancient rural fountains and other fountains inside the inhabited area (Fontanella, San Felice, Fontana dell'Orso, Fontana Nuova), one of the peculiarities of the territory.
  • The Casa del Diavolo, on a small hill along the right bank of the Olivento torrent, originally a Roman villa built in red bricks.

Where to stay