Barilli (in Arbëreshë)
|Comune di Barile|
|• Total||24 km2 (9 sq mi)|
|Elevation||620 m (2,030 ft)|
|• Density||130/km2 (350/sq mi)|
|Demonym||Barilesi, (Barliotë in Arbëreshë)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Barile is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. It is bounded by the comuni (municipalities), of Ginestra, Rapolla, Rionero in Vulture, Ripacandida, and Venosa. The town is an ancient Arbëreshë settlement, and the population still maintains strong links with that culture. The noun, barile, means "barrel" in Italian.
The people of Barile speak Italian and Arbëreshë, a dialect of Albanian. The locals managed to preserve Albanian language and culture over the centuries, as the village was founded by groups of Greek and Albanian immigrants. The first flow of immigrants is considered to have settled in the area in 1447.
The exact origin of the name of the town is unknown. Some believe it comes from barrale or barelium, a term indicating the duties on flocks of sheep and goats. Others believe it comes from the wooden barrels used to preserve the famous wine grown in the area (Aglianico del Vulture). (The Italian word for "barrel" is barile.) Evidence of this is the town's coat of arms, which shows a barrel between two fir trees and a bunch of grapes. However, on some old maps Barile has been written "Barrile", with a double "r". The area was populated in ancient times by a colony of Greeks who later abandoned the place.
The Barile farmstead existed at the time of Robert d'Anjou, in the early 14th century, as evidenced by a 1332 document speaking of the two farmsteads of Barile and Rionero in Vulture. The Bishop of Rapolla decided to populate Barile with people foreign to the kingdom, and in return received the privilege of tax exemption for a decade.
The town grew from the 14th to the 17th century as a result of migration of four colonies of Greeks and Albanians, who brought with them their customs and religious worship, building churches where they settled.
The first Albanian colony called the "Arbëreshë" arrived in the area probably around 1477 and was dubbed by the local population "the colony Clefiti".
The second colony, called the "Coroneo" because they come from Koroni, Greece, arrived around 1534, having abandoned their home town after a plague. This second wave of refugees settled on the same hill range as the previous "Arbëreshë".
The third colony arrived in 1597 and was composed of approximately thirty families from Melfi, who settled in Barile after several hostilities with the population of Melfi.
The fourth and final settlement came about in 1675, that of the "Mainotti", so called because they came from Laconia and Maina, the ancient Leuctra. They were also called the Camiciotti ("shirts") because they wore black shirts.
In 1861 the country became an integral part of the Lucanian brigandage, having as leading figures Michele Volonnino and Caporal Teodoro, men loyal to Carmine Crocco who opposed the government of Vittorio Emanuele II of the House of Savoy that had been recently installed.
Chiesa della Madonna di Costantinopoli
La Chiesa della Madonna di Costantinopoli (English: The Church of Our Lady of Constantinople) (protector of Barile) was probably built in the middle of the 17th century. According to tradition, Our Lady appeared in a dream to a farmer, and she pointed to a place where, if he would dig, he would find her image painted on the tuff. The building has a wall fresco of the Madonna in the Byzantine style of the 14th century.
Also dedicated to the protector of the city is La Chiesa Madre (English: The Mother Church), where there is instead a 15th century Byzantine painting, representing the Madonna of Constantinople, and a 17th century canvas, depicting the Virgin Mary pierced by seven stilettos.
Chiesa di Sant'Attanasio e San Rocco
La Chiesa di Sant'Attanasio e San Rocco (English: The Church of St. Athanasius and St. Rocco) was probably built in 1640, as follows from a picture by the vault above the main vault. It was built under the supervision of Raffaele Daniele, the oldest of the Brotherhood. The earthquakes of 1931 and 1980 further damaged the structure, which has been restored several times. Inside the church are four paintings of the 1640 Neapolitan school. A canvas of the Neapolitan school, depicting the Madonna del Carmine, painted at the end of the 18th century is preserved in the church of the Carmelite convent of Santa Maria del Carmine.
Chiesa di San Nicola
La Chiesa di San Nicola (English: The Church of St. Nicholas) holds a 1464 canvas, depicting the Annunciation, and another painting by Girolamo Bresciano of the 17th century.
Fontana dello Steccato
In the town square is La Fontana dello Steccato (English: The Fountain of the fence), built in 1713 and depicting three figures with apotropaic heads that, according to the etymology, should keep far from the fountain any magic and malignant influences. At the top is visible a coat of arms, where there is carved the Madonna of Constantinople with the Christ Child.
In the periphery of the town is the area called the Seshë (which means "square" in the ancient Arbëreshë language), consisting of caves dug in the rock by the first Albanian immigrants, nowadays used to store Aglianico wine. The cellars of the Seshë are visible in the film by Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Gospel according to Matthew (1964), since the director decided to shoot some exteriors of the film at Barile. In August, there takes place among these cellars a cultural event by the name "Cellar Wine & Art", in which various forms of art such as music, painting, cinema, and sculpture meet with Aglianico and diverse gastronomic products typical of the area.
Media related to Barile at Wikimedia Commons