MUNICIPALITY OF castelmezzano
mt. 900 a.s.l.
San Rocco, August 19th
APT Pro Loco
“Le Dolomiti Lucane di Castelmezzano” – Ph. 0971 986020
Town hall tourist office – Ph. 0971 986041 – fax 0971 986166 www.comune.castelmezzano.pz.it
Castrum Medianum, i.e. “castle in the middle,” was the name of the Norman fortress located midway between the castles of Pietrapertosa and Brindisi Montagna.
Perched on a wall of peaks and pinnacles amid a fantastic rocky landscape, Castelmezzano has preserved its original medieval structure. It is in fact a cluster of concentric houses set in a terraced rocky hollow, with roofs tiled with sheets of sandstone. Touring around the old town centre is suggestive for the unreal presence of the rock inserted in the buildings, the countless steep stairs that intertwine and invite you to climb to the peaks above and enjoy the fabulous scenery of the “Lucanian Dolomites,” whose rugged, craggy appearance likens them to the mountains of the eastern Alps (although here they are of a different rock type, a compact sandstone).
The Borgo appears like an amphitheater in the rocky. The rock is always there: porticos cut into it connect narrow streets and tiny squares. The Mother Church of Santa Maria, built on the main square in the 13th century using local stone, has a 14th century wooden statue of the Madonna and Child of Olmo, a Baroque wooden altar and a Holy Family by Girolamo Bresciano. Also worth seeing are the Chapel of Santa Maria, the rupestrian Church of the Madonna dell’Ascensione carved into the rock, with an adjoining pre-Napoleonic cemetery, and the various palaces of the village’s various noble families: the Merlino, Parrella, Coiro, Paternò, and Campagna residences, and the vast Ducal Palace of the De Lerma family, the last lords of Castelmezzano. Lastly, a visit to the ruins of the Norman-Suevian fortress is a must, with its steep, narrow stairs carved into the rock that lead to the highest point, where the lookout of the military garrison watched over the Basento valley below. To climb these fifty steps with hawks circling overhead is a a kind of a mystical experience.
The sausage, a particularly flavorful salami that is prepared in various stages corresponding to different times of the year. As for dishes, do not miss to taste the crostole, lamb with herbs and grilled kid with potatoes.