RIVELLO - BASILICATA - SOUTH ITALY
Rivello (which means "small watercourse"); a typical
south Italy mountain town, surrounded by woods and high hills of
the Basilicata region. Rivello is located in a splendidly scenic
position on the ridge of a hill that overlooks the whole Noce Valley
and Mount Sirino. The urban structure of the town is equally picturesque
with the chuch of San Nicola dei Greci dominating the western height
of the town.
The town has an unusual history: born from a Basilian monk's laura and
therefore a place of prayer and worship, it became a place disputed
for centuries by Lombards and Byzantines because of its strategic
position. Neither power was able to prevail over the other, so they
reached an uncommon form of agreement. The Lombards settled the
upper part of the town, while the Byzantines concentrated in the
As a consequence, within this once very populous town, two centres
with two very different cultures developed. Each center has its
own major church. The Lombards in the upper areas built The church
of Santa Maria Maggiore, of Latin rite, and the Byzantines built
The church of San Nicola which practices the rites of the Greek
church, a tradition that lasted well into the 17th century.
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Although all the local churches are now Roman Catholic, many reveal a Byzantine
architectural influence. There are many other smaller churches in
the town, the vast majority are open all day and throughout the year.
On the first floor the Civic Museum displays archaeological material
found at Serra Città and Piano del Pignataro, where archaeologists
have found numerous brick kilns active from the 3rd century BC.
The church in the complex of the former convent of Sant’Antonio,
of the Observant Minors (15th century) on the façade has a
16th century portico, frescoed by Pietrafesa (17th century).The entrance
has a fine wooden doorway flanked by two stone sea-lions. The interior
is of the baroque style with two canvasses (The Sacra famiglia and
the Immacolata) by the local painter Salvatore Ferrari in the 18th
Century, and other pictures by Filippo Vitale, the Domenico Antonio
Vaccaro and Domenico Mondo. The cloister was partially knocked down
but the two remaining wings of the convent, conserve cycles of frescoes
by Pietrafesa and Giovanni Todisco Todisco's works include the Scene
della Passione and the Ultima Cena which is hung in the refectory
(1559). At the center of the cloister stands a stone well.