The Norman Castle of Melfi

This impressive Norman castle is the symbol of Melfi; its story is linked to that of important residents and leading figures who have inhabited, over the centuries, this charming village cradled at the foot of Mount Vulture.

Commissioned by Robert Guiscard, then enlarged by Frederick II, provided with new towers by Charles I and renovated by the members of the House of Caracciolo and the Doria family, today the Castle seems to be literally emerging from the hilltop. Visit the Castle of Melfi, here you will discover why it is considered as the most famous castle in Basilicata and one of the largest in the South of Italy.

Its impressive ten towers – seven with rectangular design and three with pentagonal design – will immediately catch the visitor’s eye. The castle has four entrances: three of them date back to the Angevins’ period and one, built by the Doria family, is linked to the village through a bridge that once was a drawbridge. Through the door you enter into the beautiful main courtyard, overlooked by the baronial palace and the family chapel.

On the ground floor of the castle you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Melfi, which houses an important collection of archaeological documents found in the area, while the clock tower keeps a splendid Roman sarcophagus, found in 1856 and known as the “Sarcophagus of Rapolla” because it was once kept in the square of Rapolla, a small village located in the Vulture area.

Once certainly owned by an important member of the highest class, it is an elegant artefact of Asian origin dating back to the second half of the 2nd century. The Sarcophagus’s lid depicts the deceased lying down.