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Barilli (in Arbëreshë)
Comune di Barile
Barile (PZ).jpg
Barile is located in Italy
Location of Barile in Italy
Coordinates: 40°57′N 15°40′E / 40.950°N 15.667°E / 40.950; 15.667Coordinates: 40°57′N 15°40′E / 40.950°N 15.667°E / 40.950; 15.667
Country Italy
Region Basilicata
Province Potenza (PZ)
Frazioni Cerrocigliano
 • Total 24 km2 (9 sq mi)
Elevation 620 m (2,030 ft)
 • Total 3,229
 • Density 130/km2 (350/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Barilesi, (Barliotë in Arbëreshë)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 85022
Dialing code 0972
Website Official website

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 origin of the name of the town is unknown. Some say 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 (barile) used for the famous wine grown in the area (Aglianico del Vulture). Indeed, the town's coat of arms shows a barrel between two fir trees and a bunch of grapes. However, on some old maps Barile was written "Barrile".

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.

On July 23, 1930, Barile (like the whole Vulture region), was damaged by a strong earthquake (the 1930 Irpinia earthquake), which hit the provinces of Avellino and Potenza.

In 1964, Pier Paolo Pasolini shot a few scenes of the film The Gospel According to St. Matthew in Barile, selecting a few extras from the local population.


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.

Chiesa Madre

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.

Civic architecture[edit]

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.


External links[edit]

Media related to Barile at Wikimedia Commons