Discover the history of the robbers’ village
Only in Italy are there historical villages that may have given birth almost simultaneously to a brigand who sows fear and an intellectual end that makes hope grow. This is the case of Rionero in Vulture, a village surrounded by natural beauty in Basilicata. Here the brigand was Carmine Donatelli known as Crocco and the intellectual Giustino Fortunato, southern end.
This village is located at the foot of the Vulture, an ancient extinct volcano. The municipality was awarded the silver medal of civil merit for self-sacrifice during the Second World War. The city is famous throughout Italy for its wealth of mineral water sources.
Let’s discover the history of this village and what to see here.
Rionero in Vulture is a small town in Basilicata in the province of Potenza that rises on two hills south east of the ancient volcano of Mount Vulture. These territories are particularly rich in water springs but also vineyards and olive groves.
The village also includes the hamlets of Monticchio Sgarroni and Monticchio Bagni. Nearby are also the two lakes of Monticchio that are part of the Regional Park of Vulture. This place has a great naturalistic and landscape value and is absolutely not to be missed.
The history of Rionero in Vulture
Undoubtedly the history of this small village in Basilicata is closely linked to the phenomenon of brigandage in 1800. According to some findings, Rionero was inhabited since the fourth century A. C. Following the fall of the Roman Empire these territories were occupied by the Normans but also by the Basilian monks who built the Abbey of San Michele.
The first historical information is from the thirteenth century when it is mentioned as a farmhouse of Santa Maria di Rivonigro. In 1800 the area became one of the main centres of brigandage and it is here that Carmine Donatelli known as Crocco was born one of the most famous brigands of those times.
With the end of this phenomenon the village goes through a period of difficulty and poverty. The history of Rionero in Vulture is sadly marked by the horrible fascist Nazi retaliation that overwhelmed the municipality in 1943 with the killing of many citizens.
Rionero in Vulture: what to see?
Rionero in Vulture preserves testimonies of the past that deserve to be visited. In the historic center of the village there are churches and historic buildings such as the church of San Marco Evangelista built in 1695. Its façade is in baroque style while the interior has a Latin cross plan with three naves. Also in the historic center are to see the churches of SS. Sacramento and that SS, Annunziata. Minoltre in Rionero in Vulture there are also palaces of the eighteenth century.
One of the most important is undoubtedly Palazzo Giustino Fortunato. Famous people such as Ferdinando II di Borbone, Giuseppe Bonaparte and Giuseppe Zanardelli stayed here in the past. Access is through an entrance hall that leads to a large courtyard. Here there is an elegant staircase that leads to the garden.
Most of the building is dedicated to the library Giustino Fortunato which has interesting volumes. Finally in the cellars of the building there is the Museum of Rural Life that tells the work and everyday life of the people of this village in the past.
Definitely worth a visit also the Brigandage Museum where the phases and the main characters of this particular historical period are exposed. Do not miss the Museum of Natural History of Monticchio which is set up inside the Abbey of San Michele. Here are exposed the natural beauty of the ecosystem of this village.
Rionero is the homeland of Aglianico del Vulture, otherwise known as Barolo del sud. A wine to drink responsibly together with traditional regional dishes. From grilled to fried eggplant, from rice pancakes to snails to oregano through fusilli with sausage or swordfish rolls the cuisine of this area will offer you unforgettable dishes as its views.