Monteserico Castle – Genzano di Lucania, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Monteserico Castle

Genzano di Lucania, Italy

Its look is severe, but its location, isolated on a hill in the middle of the countryside, is particularly scenic. 

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About 10 miles east of the town of Genzano di Lucania, in northern Basilicata, a small castle on a hill stands out in the middle of the sparsely populated countryside.

The origins of this fortress, known as Castello di Monteserico (Monteserico Castle), are unknown, but it was probably built at the end of the 10th century. In 1041 it was the site of a large battle between the Normans, who were in the process of conquering southern Italy, and the Byzantines, who previously controlled the area. Due to its strategic position, the castle became an important Norman stronghold, and it was renovated and expanded in the following centuries, gaining its current simple, austere appearance.

After southern Italy was unified under the Kingdom of Sicily, the castle gradually lost its importance and was abandoned. It was originally surrounded by a small hamlet that was also abandoned during the 15th century, leaving the castle alone and far from other towns. The fortress became a farm and a refuge for monks and was owned by various noble families. The municipality of Genzano di Lucania bought the castle in the 1980s and turned it into a museum.