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Rivello, a history of art and charcuterie

Beyond the beaches of Maratea, the many pleasures of Tyrrhenian Lucania

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Where is

Basilicata

Rivello, PZ, Basilicata, Italia (433m s.l.m.)

Directions
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What it is and where it is

Rivello is a village placed in a panoramic position at the top of a hill that on one side dominates the valley of the Noce, a river that then flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea marking the border between Calabria and Basilicata, and on the other opens the view to the peaks of Sirino, a mountain of all respect since it exceeds two thousand meters. The beauty of the town is also given by the well-preserved building fabric, with stepped alleys that break away from the main street drawn on the ridge, and small palaces embellished with portals and loggias.

Why it is special

Basilicata's short Tyrrhenian outlook, some 30 kilometers in all, quickly transitions from Mediterranean scrubland to the shady beech forests of the Apennine valleys along roads that are a continual treat for the eyes. If Maratea is a seaside resort of solid fame, Rivello is a center representative of the best values of the hinterland: environmental integrity and surprising artistic treasures, but above all a genuineness of spirit and a culture of hospitality that find their most immediate expression in good food.

Not to be missed

The convent of St. Anthony is a 16th-century complex remarkable for its widespread pictorial decoration. Focus, however, on the Last Supper frescoed in 1559 by Giovanni Todisco: at a glance it seems to meet the genre canons, but note the setting, a sumptuous room, and then at the edge of the table the richly dressed man and woman, probably the commissioners of the fresco; not to mention what is served by the pages, a review of Lucanian cuisine of the time...

A bit of history

Rivello, seat of an ancient Basilian monastic community, of Greek rite, was for this reason tenaciously defended by the Byzantines in the face of the advance of the Lombards, who fortified the town but failed to expel the enemy garrison. The unusual consequence was that the town maintained two distinct centers: one of Latin rite around the church of Santa Maria Maggiore; the other of Greek rite around the fortress-like church of San Nicola, which stands at one end of the town; a distinction, which persisted until the seventeenth century, when the Byzantine rite was abolished.

Curiosities

Lucania is the land of cured meats par excellence, with a peak of exceptional quality precisely in Rivello. Renowned from the place is soppressata ('soperzata'), a sausage made from noble pork, leg and loin in particular, preferably from the local Nera breed. A small percentage of lard is added to the meat and the whole processed at the point of a knife, then salt, peppercorns and bell pepper powder are added. This is followed by stuffing and pressing, which gives the sausage its unmistakable section.

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Recommended by
Francesco Soletti

Maratea is the pearl of Tyrrhenian Lucania, but one day it is really worthwhile to explore its hinterland

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