Nova Siri, Province of Matera, Basilicata

Province of Matera
Situated along the Ionian coast of the region near the Calabrian border, the small commune consists of Nova Siri Paese, the ancient settlement on the hills in the hinterland, and Nova Siri Marina, along the sea, with large sandy beaches and pinewoods. The town had a number of names in the centuries, among them "Castum boletum", "Boleto", "Veleta", "Bollita".

Provinces of Basilicata

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  • Altitude: 355 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 6800 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 75020
  • Phone Area Code: 0835
  • Demonym: novasiresi
  • Patron Saint: San Giuseppe at Nova Siri Paese, celebrated on 19th March and Sant'Antonio at Nova Siri Marina, celebrated on June 13th
  • GPS Coordinates: 40°9'N 16°32'E

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Administrative Division

Frazioni & Localities: Cardinale, Centomola, Cerrolongo, Chiarantana, Cugno dei Vanni, Foresta, Funno del Pastore, Laccata, Lucido, Monticello, Ospedale, Piana delle Vigne, Pantanello, Sant'Alessio, San Basile, San Megale, Santa Maria, Taverna.

How to reach it

In the heart of the ancient Magna Grecia and within easy reach of a multitude of archeological sites, Nova Siri is well connected both by train, through the railway line Taranto-Sibari and by road through state road 106.

What to see - Monuments

  • The historical centre with the quarter called Porticella, and its typical "lamie", vaulted arches, over the narrow lanes;
  • The Palazzo Settembrini, native home of Italian patriot Luigi Settembrini;
  • At contrada Sant'Alessio the Vasche di Sant'Alessio, two basins of Roman times with sulphurous water;
  • At Marina di Nova Siri the ruins of a roman Imperial Villa called "Cigno dei Vagni".

What to see - Religious Architecture

  • The parish church dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, with baroque facade and a belletower rebuilt in 1866 after the desctruction caused by an earthquake in 1857; inside, a carved wood choir made in 1753 by artisans from Lagonegro;
  • At contrada Sulla the Chapel of the Madonna della Sulla.

History - The Greek Period

The area was the seat of a colony founded by refugees from Troy around the 8th century BC and then conquered by the Greeks of Rosin in the latter half of the 5th century BC. Named Siritides after the river Siri (current Sinni), the colony stretched from the Ferro River to the left bank of the Basento. The capital Siris was located at the mouth of the Siri river.

The colony flourished thanks to the fertility of the land and industry of its people, arousing the envy of neighboring colonies Sibaris, Metapontum and Kroton which invaded Siritides and destroyed its capital. The refugees sought shelter on high ground nearby and a group of them settled on a hill of a necropolis.

History - from Roman Times onwards

Centuries later, the Romans called the settlement "Castrum boletum" and used it as a fortress. After the fall of the Empire, the town was under Byzantine influence, and was called "Kastrum".

The ancient name Boletum gave origin to the toponymic Bullite, which under the Anjou occupation was mentioned in 1269 as a fiefdom of Giovanni di Monforte, and was until 1816 part of the Calabria region. After the unity of Italy, in 1872 the name Bollita was changed into Nova Siri.