Winner of AIFIN 2009 Prize 'Banca e Territorio'

Castrovillari is an ancient town at the foot of Pollino. Its name comes probably from the late medieval latin castrum villarum meaning “fortress of the villas”.

The originary centre of the city was along the South-East side of the hill called Santa Maria del Castello, but due to Lombards’ attacks, in the VI and VII centuries A.D., Castrovillari’s inhabitants had to go up the hill and protect themselves with defensive walls. These walls have protected the city also from the Saracens and broke down only under the norman siege, in 1064. The city grew up slowly during the XII century. In this period, Hohenstaufen gave it lot of benefits and renaming it «New City of the Swabians».

Around 1220-21 Blessed Pietro from Sant’Andrea della Marca, follower of Saint Francis of Assisi, founded there the Franciscan Protoconvent. Expanded in the XVII and XVIII centuries, it’s used also in our times and hosts the Archaeological Museum and Library. Next to the convent there is the New Church, SS. Trinità, begun in 1750 and never ended. In front of the church there is the famous Aragonese Castle, which came from the military plan of Ferdinando I of Aragona, in the XV century.

In the next centuries there was a stop in demographic and urban expansions. New churches were built only in the XVII and XVIII centuries and, in this same period, old churches were rebuilt or restored. After the earthquake, that destroyed areas of the old city, Castrovillari expanded itself northward.

Today Castrovillari’s population is of 22.500. The city is one of the most spectacular accesses of the Pollino National Park, with its singular landscape. Current city is divided, by S. Joseph bridge (also called «Ponte della Catena»), in two parts: the first, Civita, is the older zone with historical buildings, the second, Casale, is the new city, bigger than Civita and place of shops, offices and banks.