"Venusia" redirects here. For the genus of moth, see Venusia (moth).
For other uses, see Venosa (disambiguation).
Città di Venosa

Coat of arms

Location of Venosa in Italy

Coordinates: 40°57′42.37″N 15°48′53.23″E / 40.9617694°N 15.8147861°E / 40.9617694; 15.8147861Coordinates: 40°57′42.37″N 15°48′53.23″E / 40.9617694°N 15.8147861°E / 40.9617694; 15.8147861
Country Italy
Region Basilicata
Province / Metropolitan city Potenza (PZ)
  Mayor Tommaso Gammone
  Total 170.39 km2 (65.79 sq mi)
Elevation 415 m (1,362 ft)
Population (June 2015)
  Total 11,893
  Density 70/km2 (180/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Venosini
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 85029
Dialing code 0972
Patron saint St Roch
(formerly St Felix of Thibiuca)
Saint day August 16
Website Official website

Venosa is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, in the Vulture area. It is bounded by the comuni of Barile, Ginestra, Lavello, Maschito, Montemilone, Palazzo San Gervasio, Rapolla and Spinazzola.



The city was known as Venusia ("City of Venus") to the Romans, who credited its establishment—as Aphrodisia ("City of Aphrodite")—to the Homeric hero Diomedes. He was said to have moved to Magna Graeca in southern Italy following the Trojan War, seeking a life of peace and building the town and its temples to appease the anger of Aphrodite for the destruction of her beloved Troy.

The town was taken by the Romans after the Third Samnite War in 291 BC and became a colony. No fewer than 20,000 men were sent there, owing to its military importance. Throughout the Hannibalic wars it remained faithful to Rome, and had a further contingent of colonists sent in 200 BC to replace its losses in war. In 190 BC the Appian way was extended to the town. Some coins of Venusia of this period exist. It took part in the Social War, and was recaptured by Quintus Metellus Pius; it then became a municipium, but in 43 BC its territory was assigned to the veterans of the triumvirs, and it became a colony once more. Horace was born here in 65 BC. It remained an important place under the Empire as a station on the Via Appia, though Theodor Mommsen's description of it as having branch roads to Aequum Tuticum and Potentia

Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Venusia was sacked by the Heruls, and in 493 AD it was turned into the administrative centre of the area in the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy, although later this role was moved to Acerenza.

The Lombards made it a gastaldate in 570/590.

In 842 Venosa was sacked by the Saracens, who were later ousted by Emperor Louis II.

Next rulers in the 9th century were the Byzantines, who lost control of it after their defeat in 1041 by the Normans. Under the latter, Venosa was assigned to Drogo of Hauteville. In 1133 the town was sacked and set on fire by Roger II of Sicily.

His later successor Frederick II had a castle built here where a Lombard outpost existed before, which was to house the Treasury (Ministry of Finances) of the Kingdom of Sicily.

Frederick's son, Manfred of Sicily, was born here in 1232. After the latter's fall, the Hohenstaufens were replaced by the Angevines; King Charles of Anjou assigned Venosa as a county to his son Robert.

Modern era

After a series of different feudal lords, Venosa became a possession of the Orsini in 1453. Count Pirro Del Balzo, who had married Donata Orsini, built a new castle (1460–1470) and a cathedral.

Then, under the Aragonese domination, followed the Gesualdo family (1561); amongst their number was the famous prince, musician and murderer Carlo Gesualdo.

Despite the plague that had reduced its population from the 13,000 of 1503 to 6,000, Venosa had a flourishing cultural life under the Gesualdos: apart from the famous Carlo, other relevant figures of the period include the poet Luigi Tansillo (1510–1580) and the jurist Giovanni Battista De Luca (1614–1683).

Venosa took part in the revolt of Masaniello in 1647. The Gesualdos were in turn followed by the Ludovisi and the Caracciolo families.

Home to a traditionally strong republican tradition, Venosa had a role in the peasant revolts and the Carbonari movement of the early 19th century.

A true civil war between baronal powers and supporters of the peasants' rights broke out in 1849, being harshly suppressed by the Neapolitan troops.(See Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848.)

In 1861, after the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the Italian unification, Venosa was occupied by some bands of brigands under the command of Carmine Crocco in order to restore the Bourbon power in Basilicata.

Main sights

The Aragonese Castle.
The Church of SS. Trinità.
The Archaeological Area of Notarchirico.

Notable people

Twin towns


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