Staying in Calitri, Italy, but don’t have a car or just don’t feel like driving? The seasonal beach bus is back! Enjoy your day at the beach on the Adriatic Coast in Puglia. (Direct bus service to Margherita di Savoia, Puglia, begins July 1.)

Giro d'Italia 2009 - Route Map

Giro d'Italia 2009 - Route Map

We were just thrilled to hear that this famous race would be passing so near to Calitri, Avellino, in two of it’s stages this May (Avellino and Benevento stages)!

Giro d’Italia 2009 Race Schedule:

(21 stages and 2 rest days from May 9, 2009 – May 31, 2009)

Saturday May 9
Lido di Venezia, Venice, 20.5 km

Sunday May 10
Jesolo to Trieste, 156 km

Monday May 11
Grado to Valdobbiadene, 200km

Tuesday May 12
Padova to San Martino di Castrozza, 165 km (uphill)

Wednesday May 13
San Martino di Castrozza to Alpe di Siusi, 125 km (uphill)

Thursday May 14
Bressanone to Mayrhofen, 242 km

Friday May 15
Innsbruck to Chiavenna, 244 km

Saturday May 16
Morbegno to Bergamo, 208 km

Sunday May 17
Circuit Race in Milano, 155 km

Monday May 18 – REST DAY Giro d’Italia 2009

Tuesday May 19
Cuneo to Pinerolo, 250 km (uphill)

Wednesday May 20
Torino to Arenzano, 206 km

Thursday May 21
Sestri Levante to Riomaggiore, 61 km (timetrial)

Friday May 22
Lido di Camaiore to Florence, 150 km

Saturday May 23
Campi Bisenzio to Bologna, 174 km

Sunday May 24
Forlie to Faenza, 159 km

Monday May 25 – (uphill)
Pergola to Monte Petrano, 237 km

Tuesday May 26 – REST DAY Giro d’Italia

Wednesday May 27
Chieti to Blockhaus

Thursday May 28
Sulmona to Benevento

Friday May 29
Avellino to Monte Vesuvio, 164 km

Saturday May 30
Naples to Anagni, 203 km

Sunday May 31
Rome, 15.3 km

Southern Italy Vacation Rental – Would you like to stay at Casa del Cipresso for the Avellino or Benevento Stages of the Giro d’Italia? Please contact at . Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved
Venosa Castle at Twilight

Venosa Castle at Twilight

Venusia, or modern day Venosa,  has a surprisingly rich history for somewhere now so off-the beaten path…or certainly not very popular as far as mass-tourism goes anyway.

Venosa was inhabited as far back as prehistoric times (traces of Acheullean and Chellean settlements have been found there).  An Apulian town (now, Venosa is part of Basilicata) in Roman times, it eventually became the largest colony in the Roman world.

Venosa lays claim to quite a few well-known historical figures.  The Roman general, Marcellus was ambushed at Venosa and killed by Hannibal in 208BC.  It was the birthplace of Horace (the famous Roman poet) and of Manfred (the son of Frederick II, King of Sicily).  Venosa was also home to the famous “Prince of Venosa,” Carlo Gesualdo, composer of some of the most well-know choral madrigals from the late Italian Renaissance (and also extremely scandalous murderer of his wife and her lover.)

The fairy-tale, 15th century, Venosa Castle sits in the main piazza – complete with whimsical towers and a moat.  (Of all the Norman castles I’ve seen in Southern Italy, this one is the one that is straight out of the story-books.)  Inside, there has been a modern renovation and it now houses the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (open 9am-7pm) with a nice display of Greek, Roman, and medieval finds from Venosa, and also includes some more unusual finds from Venosa’s ancient Jewish population (you can also visit the adjoining Jewish catacombs) and impressive skeletal remains from homo erectus (300,000 years ago!).

Other interesting sights in Venosa include a 13c fountain and stone carved lions, the supposed tomb of Marcellus, 16c cathedral, and the Museo Briscese, displaying Palaeolithic finds.

Right outside the town of Venosa, stands La Trinita Abbey, a very impressive monastic complex founded by the Benedictines in 1046.  It was originally a Roman temple, then an early Christian church, and finally the Abbey that still stands today.  Inside, it houses what is said to be the tomb of Robert Guiscard and his first wife, along with some beautiful frescoes, including one of Joan I of Naples, and a Pieta said to be by Roberto Oderisus.

Across from La Trinita Abbey, you can wander the ruins of the ancient Roman baths, Roman amphitheatre, and Jewish Catacombs (9am-7pm or an hour before sunset)

Venosa (Basilicata) can be reached in about one hour by car from Calitri and makes for a wonderful historical excursion.

The Castle at Venosa

The Castle at Venosa

Southern Italy Vacation Rental – Would you like to stay at Casa del Cipresso near Venosa? Please contact us at . Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved.

Ornate Ceiling of one of the many San Lorenzo Chaples

We “discovered” this monastery at Padula for the first time this Spring;  we were looking to take a relaxing day trip – one that would be a fairly short (an hour and a half or less) and simple drive from our home in Calitri.

The drive out to the Cliento National Park near Salerno is spectacular – snow-capped mountains and lush greenery.  I think we’d have probably been delighted with just the drive (even though the day we picked was, unfortunately, overcast and not the usual, idyllic, sunny Southern Italy) , but the San Lorenzo monastery was certainly, unexpectedly, impressive and well worth a visit!  (The monastery was opened to the public in 1982 and is now a National Monument and World Heritage Site)

The Certosa di San Lorenzo at Padula in Southern Italy is the second largest Carthusian Monastery in Italy (the largest is in Parma).  Dedicated to St. Lawrence, it was first founded in 1306;  the structure’s history spans over 450 years with the main portions constructed on the Baroque style.  It is huge – 320 rooms and halls – and includes the world’s largest cloister (almost 3 acres surrounded by 84 columns).

According to the very strict Carthusian rules between meditation/prayer and work, there are very distinct spaces within the San Lorenzo complex:  the cloisters, the library (with a Vietri ceramic floor), the ornate chapels, the cloister gardens, and the large kitchen (legend has it that an omelet made of one thousand eggs was once cooked there for a visiting Charles V), the cellars with wine storage, the laundry, and the courtyards, where there were people working at stables, ovens, and an olive oil mill.  the exterior courtyards were worked by the novices, where they traded goods with the outside world.

The San Lorenzo Monastery is also home to the very modern archaeological museum of Western Lucania, where you can see an impressive collection of finds found at the local sites of Sala Consilina and Padula.  (Museum admission is included in the very modest entrance fee to the monastery).

Clcik Here to go to the Official World Heritage Website