Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – U-Z

Vizzini (CT): A commune in the province of Catania. Population: 6,925 (2006e).

vjersh: A variety of Albanian song found in Calabria and Basilicata.

voca diretta, a: A variety of Calabrian multi-part song.

voca regolare, a: A variety of Calabrian multi-part song.

Volla (NA): A commune in the province of Napoli.

Volturara Appula (FG): A commune in the province of Foggia. Population: 529 (2006e).

Volturara Irpina (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 4,199 (2006e).

Volturino (FG): A commune in the province of Foggia. Population: 1,907 (2006e).

Volturno, River (anc. Vulturnus): Length: 175 km. A river rising in Molise and flowing S, E, and then W, through Campania, past Capua, and finally emptying into the Mediterranean near Castel Volturno, between Naples and Gaeta.

Volturno, Battle of the River: Fought on Sept. 19-20, 1860, between the Southern Army of Garibaldi and the Bourbon Royal Army. It was the principal set-piece battle of Garibaldi’s conquest of the Kingdom of Naples and his victory here led to the retreat of royal forces into Gaeta and their ultimate defeat.

Vortumna: An ancient Italic goddess, worshipped as Fortuna by the Romans. Her name means “She who revolves the year.”

Vulcaniae: See Aeoliae Insulae.

Vulcano: an island of the Isole Eolie (Lipari Islands).


White Hart: A symbol, since ancient times, for good fortune. Its first mention is in Aristotle who states that the hero Diomedes consecrated a white stag to the goddess Artemis/Diana. This animal lived for a thousand years before being killed by Agathocles, king of Sicily. White harts are mentioned in legends connected with such historical figures as Alexander the AGreat, Julius Caesar, and Charlemagne. Each of these rulers was said to have captured the white stag, decorating it with golden bands, and then releasing it.

William I “Iron Arm” (French: Guillaume Bras-de-Fer; Italian: Guglielmo Braccio-di-Ferro): Count of Apulia and Calabria (1042-1046).

William I: King of Sicily (r1154-1166); Duke of Apulia and Calabria (as William III) (r1148-1154).

William II: Count of Apulia and Calabria (r1111-1117).

William II: King of Sicily (r1166-1189).

William III: Duke of Apulia and Calabria (r1148-1154). See William I, King of Sicily (r1154-1166).

William III: King of Sicily (r1194).

Winds, Traditional Names of:


Tramontana (= across the mountains) referring to the Alps


Greco (referring to Greece)


Levante (“Sun Rising”)


Sirocco (The hot wind which blew off North Africa)


Mezzogiorno (Midday)


Libeccio (Libyan or African Wind)


Pontente (“Sun Setting“)


Maestro (Master Wind)

World Heritage Sites in Southern Italy:



Year Chosen

18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex

Ref# 549rev

Provinces of Caserta and Benevento, Campania
N41 4 23.988

E14 19 35.004


A magnificent mid-18th century palatial complex including an associated park and gardens. It includes a natural woodland, hunting lodges, and the Belvedere, an industrial complex for silk production. Built to rival more famous royal estates like Versailles, the Palazzo Reale of Caserta represents one of the highest achievements in Enlightment era planning designed to incorporate urban structure into natural setting.

Archaeological Area of Agrigento

Ref #831

Province of Agrigento, Sicily

N37 17 23

E13 35 36


The remains of one of the great cities of the ancient Greeks, this complex contains some of the finest surviving examples of Doric temple architecture, as well as remains from the Hellenistic, Roman and early Christian eras.

Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata

Ref # 829

Province of Naples, Campania
N40 45

E14 29


An area that contains the remains of the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and of a number of associated villas, buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. The remains provide a vivid and unparalleled picture into the daily life during the early part of the Roman Empire.

Castel del Monte

Ref #398rev

Communes of Andria and Corato, Province of Bari, Puglia Region
N41 5 5.3

E16 16 15.4


An incredibly designed and precisely built castle erected in the 13th century for Emperoror Frederick II. The building, known for the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout, blends the styles of northern Europe, the Saracen world, and classical antiquity into a unique, near perfect form.

Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula

Ref #842

Province of Salerno, Campania
N40 17 E15 16


A unique area which sat on the boundaries of ancient Magna Graecia, and the cultural spheres of the Etruscans and Lucanians. The area includes sanctuaries and settlements with links tied to the prehistoric, ancient and medieval eras. The remains of two important Greek cities, Paestum and Velia, are located here.

Costiera Amalfitana

Ref #830

Province of Salerno, Campania
N40 39 00

E14 36 00


A coastal region of singular beauty which towns whose roots reach back into early medieval times. Many of these towns like Amalfi and Ravello contain examples of beautiful architecture, set to the backdrop of magnificent natural landscapes.

Historic Center of Naples

Ref #726

City and Province of Naples, Campania
N40 51 05

E14 15 46


The urban center of a city founded in the 5th century BC by Greek colonists. It includes many monuments reflective of centuries of interaction with the European and the Mediterranean worlds.

Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)

Ref #1024rev

Provinces of Catania, Ragusa, and Syracuse, Sicily
N36 53 35.5

E15 04 08.1


A group of eight towns: Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli, rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1693. These are excellent examples of late Baroque architecture and art, within a defined geography, chronology and cultural unit.

Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica

Ref # 1200

City and Province of Syracuse, Sicily
N37 03 34.0

E15 17 35.0


Within a relatively small area are preserved the remains of Mediterranean cultures stretching from the prehistoric (13th-7th century BC) Sikel burials at Pantalica to the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Saracen, Norman, Hohenstaufen, Aragonese, Spanish and Bourbon era architecture in Syracuse.

The Trulli of Alberobello

Ref #787

Prov. of Bari Puglia N40 46 57

E17 14 13


The unique architecture of trulli limestone structures of this area show an unbroken traditional building technique stretching back to prehistoric times and continuing into the present day.

The Sassi and the park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera

Ref #670

City and Province of Matera, Region of Basilicata
N40 39 59

E16 36 37


One of the world’s most incredible examples of a “troglodyte” or cave-dwelling community. Use of the Sassi caves for dwellings and religious structures date back to the Paleolithic era and continue into recent times.

Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)

Ref #908

Mediterranean Sea – Southern Tyrrhenian Sea
N38 29 16.3

E14 56 44.1


An archipelago of islands which ongoing volcanic activity has allowed two centuries of important study in vulcanology to take place.




Zaccanopoli (VV): A commune in the province of vibo Valentia.

Zachary, St.: Pope. (rDec 3, 741-Mar 14/22, 752).

Zafferana Etnea (CT): A commune in the province of Catania. Population: 8,812 (2006e). It is principally a summer resort.

Zagarise (CZ): A commune in the province of Catanzaro. Population: 1,836 (2006e).

Zambrone (VV): A commune in the province of Vibo Valentia.

zampogna: a type of bagpipe used throughout southern Italy. It has five pipes of uneven length and a double reed. Another source describes it as most commonly having 2 drones and 2 conical chanters.

zampogna a paro: a single-reed zampogna with 2 or 3 drones. It is normally used in Calabria and Sicily.

zampogna zoppa: a Central Italian version of a zampogna. It is usually double-reeded and has a variable number of drones.

Zapponeta (FG): A commune in the province of Foggia. Population: 3,145 (2006e).

zecchino: a gold coin (2.907 grams) used in the Two Sicilies. Equivalent to 2 ducati and to 9.07 lire, it was sometimes called the zecchino napoletano di don Carlos or zecchino napoletano di Ferdinando IV.

Zenodorus, Flavius Hadrianus Hierius: (fl. Early AD 5th Century). Governor of Lucania and Bruttium (corrector Lucaniae et Bruttiorum) in AD 401. He is mentioned in the letters of Symmachus (Ep. IX. 3; IX. 9).

Zephyrinus, St.: Pope. (r199-217).

Zingarelli, Nicola Antonio: b. April 4, 1752, Naples (or Rome). d. May 5, 1837, Torre del Greco. Composer. Having earned a fine reputation as composer of Italian opera, he became director of the chapel of the Vatican in 1806. In 1812, Napoleon appointed him director of the conservatory at Rome and musical director of St. Peter’s. In the following year, the Emperor sent his to Naples as the directory of the new conservatory there. He later composed a cantata honoring Murat after his death but it was seized by the Bourbon authorities and never performed.