03 October 2007

Anzi, Venosa and back to Ascoli Piceno

We left Matera mid-week and the four of us headed to Anzi, the hometown of Valerie’s grandparents. We were there last October with Celia and this is where we met Michele Cutro, their cousin removed once, twice or maybe three times. Anzi sits at 1100 meters on the south side of a hill with grand views of the Dolomiti Lucane, Laurenzana across the valley and the surrounding mountains. The views are unobstructed and clear as there is little industrial output to mare the blue skies in the area.

We were in Anzi for a couple days exploring the narrow streets with Michele as our guide, visiting Laurenzana which is the hometown of some their relatives as well as some of the surrounding countryside. Laurenzana has a large castello sitting on the hill above town and they have been working on a restoration project since our first visit several years ago. Progress in the project is visible but they still have a long way to go. When we were in Matera we visited the Museo di Arte in the Palazzo Lanfranchi and they had several pieces of art from the main church in Laurenzana, which shares a prominent position with the castello.

We left Saturday morning and Celia and Rhonda headed to Bari for an early Sunday flight back to the US. Valerie and I headed north through the Valle del Vulture and stopped in Venosa, the hometown of the Roman poet Horace. This is an interesting ancient city with Roman roots and amazing medieval structures. The centro storico is small and level and you can easily wind around the stone streets where you will find interesting architecture. On the west end of the centro storico is the castello with a complete moat which houses a museum.

On the opposite end of the centro storico is an archeological park that houses excavated Roman ruins including a bath complex and paved roads. The backdrop to this is the Chiesa Nuova o Incompiuta which is an example of medieval church planning gone bad. This stone structure was an addition to an existing church begun in the thirteenth century but was never completed and what stands now is the unfinished walls. Many of the stone blocks used came from nearby Roman ruins and you can still see many Latin inscriptions.

From Venosa we headed north again to Ascoli Piceno, our adopted hometown.


Valerie said...

Why do Celia and I look like we're leaning in all these photos?!

Bryan said...

Always trying to hog the photo opt!