The Castle

The Castle of Monteserico, located in the hamlet of Genzano di Lucania, 18 km from the town ,  is not of known origin, even if there are historical verified references. Refuge for nobles, monks and actresses Some people date back the construction of the castle to the Roman times, but many, like Giustino Fortunato, see it rightly as Norman. Others, like the German medievalistCarl Arnold Willemsen -who lavished a remarkable care on the investigation of the age and of the historical figure of Fredrick II Emperor – felt that, being the building a small one, it was more a resort than a place of defense, but recent studies prove the contrary, especially if we consider that next to it there was an extended village. However, it seems certain that the castle was changed into a fortress in the age of Ottone II, in 980. In 1041 it was the scene of a battle where the Normans of Melfi defeated the Byzantines of Montepeloso. The castle was renovated and expanded by the Swabians and it seems that it was often visited by Fredrick II because it is the natural habitat of birds of prey, loved by the Emperor. Around 1000 the castle was designated as Magister Massarium Apulia, in the Middle Ages it was refuge for the Basilian monks, and in its nether there are caves dated to prehistory. When, in the first decade of the XV cent., the hamlet of Monteserico disappeared, the castle continued to be occupied; after the First World War it was refurbished and  became  the dwelling of Lida Borelli, star of the silent cinema. A simple pyramidal structure The castle very sober in its architectural structure, rises up to 557 meters above the sea level, on the crown of the mountain from which the city neighborhood’s name derives. The form of the castle is called a pyramidenturm. It’s a volume in the shape of pseudo-truncated pyramid, surrounded by moat. The structure is composed in the middle by a quadrangle tower and an enclosure underneath with walls-scarp. Crossed a bridge and the access portal, we find a short square court, which divides the lookout tower from the external mass that encloses it. The plant of the low ground is divided into two parts by an arch that supports a pointed cross -barrel vaulting.  You had access to the next two floors, without traces of their antique structure, through winding stairs completely destroyed. Only on one side the castle is linked to the clearing through the drawbridge; on the other sides it rises cliff-side on the bare cliff.   Sources: ANTONIO MASSARO – 6 April 2010


Genzano di Lucania

Pagus Gentianum The lovely small town lies on a gentle and soft hill, on the eastern borders of Puglia region, about six feet above the sea level. The people of “pagus gentianum”, a roman settlement of the VII-VI century B.C., moved to this land because of an epidemic of malaria, giving rise to what is now called Genzano. The primordial inhabited area seems to have been founded on ruins of an old “pagus” of the ancient “Bantia”, probably in the X cent. Likewise Genzano di Lucania, surrounded by corn fields and shrouded by nature, was influenced by the Normans, like all the other villages in the upper Bradano, and the continuous evolution of the feudatory family who ruled it, following such  historical, cultural and artistical changes still alive in the small town. Ancient and modern Today the village is divided in two parts well marked out: the old one with alleys and ancient buildings, placed on a spur, and the new one, built at the top and flat part of the hill, with large streets and modern buildings.     A big castle, Palazzo de Marinis, now a municipal building, divides the old town of Genzano from the new one. To Genzano was added ” di Lucania” to distinguish it from Genzano di Roma. The Cavallina fountain The ancient village of Genzano, characterized by a labyrinth of narrow streets and passes, well recalls the Middle Ages and the absolute importance that it held in that period. Not far away from the Monteserico castle, there is the Cavallina fountain, officially numbered among the 33 most beautiful fountains of Italy, and was object of a 120 liras stamp depiction of the year 1978, behind which is situated a statue of Ceres, solemn watcher of the fountain.  

  This gem of architecture, beauty and functionality, is able to recycle the heavy waters both from the surface and from the substratum, compensating for the unavoidable erosion phenomena of the valley. Once upon a time the fountain had in its centre a statue of Ceres without head, which today is treasured in Palazzo de Marinis, a municipal building, another must-see for people who visit Genzano.

Sources: ANTONIO MASSARO – 6 April 2010