Although not many tourists seem to find the town, Tricarico is interesting to explore with several historic palazzos and churches to discover in the 'old town' which is among the best preserved medieval centres in the region.
The current town layout of Tricarico still shows the presence of the narrow streets of the ancient Arab neighbourhoods that alternate with more 'recent' Norman districts.
Explore Tricarico: tourism and travel guide
From the historical and artistic point of view, the most interesting palaces and churches of Tricarico are located in the historic center. These include the Churches of Saint Francis, in Gothic style, the churches of Saint Clare and Saint Anthony, and the Church of the Carmine, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.
According to tradition, Robert Guiscard built Tricarico Cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, in 1061. It contains a triptych by Girolamo da Santacroce, who was most active in the first half of the 16th century.
The ancient Romanesque structure of the cathedral has practically disappeared due to the restructuring carried out between the 16th and 18th centuries, and the church now has a typical Baroque style.
However in the Renaissance age Tricarico experienced a period of great artistic development, as seen in the frescoes of the Cathedral, attributed to G. Todisco, dating back to the 16th century.
Convent of Saint Francis
The convent of Saint Francis also has an illustrious history, being founded in the 14th century by the family of the Counts Sanseverino. Originally the convent was decorated with frescoes depicting the "Crucifixion", "S. Bartholomew "and " S. James , "attributed to the 14th century “Maestro della Bruna”, a painter from Matera.
Another interesting artist, Pietro Antonio Ferro (or Ferri), a Mannerist artist, also worked in Tricarico and his work can still be seen in the Church of Santa Chiara and the Church of the Carmine.
Norman Tower of Tricarico
Among the most important architectural works of Tricarico is the so-called "Norman Tower". This tower is about thirty meters high and was probably built around the 10th century as a fortress, then strengthened under the Normans and the Swabians.
The tower continued to carry out its military function until the 17th century, while in the fourteenth century the castle itself was the seat of a monastery of cloistered nuns.
Church of Santa Chiara
In the Church of Santa Chiara the walls and vault are decorated with frescoes representing episodes of Christ and the Virgin's life, images of Evangelists, apostles and Franciscan Saints. The paintings that were found in the cloister dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua are also very interesting:
“The paintings of the cloister of S. Antonius of Padova convent in Tricarico were painted between 1643 and 1648 by Ilario da Montalbano and Giuseppe Sciarra and show episodes of the old testament, of Christ's Passion, of Vìrgin's Life and of Miracles by S. Francis of Assisi and S. Antonius of Padova.” ( See C. Colella-G. Settembrino, “Gli affreschi del chiostro del convento di S. Antonio di Padova a Tricarico”, in “Basilicata Regione”, 1999, p. 257).
Local specialities and traditions
The area around Tricarico is known for its local products (oil and wine) as well as for cows, sheep and pigs.
From the naturalistic point of view, we should mention the Mantenera Malcanale forest, which is characterized by its natural beauty and has a protected area which is today home to rare species of birds such as the hawk, the red kite, the buzzard, and the kestrel.
In the archaeological areas of Civita, on the edge of the current town, excavations show that the area of Tricarico has been inhabited since the 6th-5th century BC by the Lucanians, as the necropolis found near Tricarico show. In recent years the remains of several temples have been found, which are still being studied (see also history of Tricarico) and some Roman mosaics can be seen.
Not far from Tricarico you should also visit the Shrine of Holy Mary delle Fonti.
Where is Tricarico?
Tricarico is a small town in southern Italy, in the Basilicata region and east of Potenza.
Map of Tricarico and places nearby
Tricarico places to visit
See more places nearby in the Basilicata guide