Costa Palomba & the Antece

Sant' Angelo and the Fasanella valley is loacted on  the Alburni mountains at the foot of the Apennines. The Alburni contain white limestone. As water penetrates this type of rock large caves are formed. As a result, the Alburni mountain region is rich with fascinating caves (see our pictures of Castelcivita and St. Michael's cave in Sant' Angelo). People discovered these caves in prehistoric times and moved in. They never left the area. Among the many ancient Italic groups that lived here before the arrival of the Romans was the Lucani. I had read that  4 km (2.5 miles) north of Sant' Angelo at a place in the Alburni called Costa Palomba there is a 4 to 5 thousand year old carving known as the Antece.  This carving  is believed to have been made by the Lucani. I just had to see it.


The start of our hike to see the "Antece"

From Left to right: Umbaldo Vigorito (82), Mario Vigorito (76), and Antonio Barone. The initial portion of the trail was easy, but it gradually steepened. At the very end it was necessary to climb some rocks. Thank goodness for the longevity genes in the people of southern Italy.

The first outcrops of limestone that we encountered

Which way do we go?

Un pozzo.

This is a well with incredibly cold water. I took a water break. My elderly companions, however, refused water- something about cold water not being good for the body when it is working hard. Oh Pleeeease!

Even cows need to drink up here.

Water from the well (right) is used to fill the watering hole (left) for the cattle that grxze in the area.

A closeup view of the trough.

The break is over. Let's move on.

Trail markers

As you walk up the trail it is necessary to stay to the left of trees and stones marked with red, and to the right of those marked with green. Don't ask me what the yellow indicates.

This is where it began getting tough.

Shortly after this picture was taken it was necessary to climb over some rocks to get to the summit.

There he is. The "Antece"

Can't see it? Next picture provides a closer look.

The "Antece"

This warrior was carved during the Bronze age about 2000 years before Christ, most likely by the Italic tribe, the Lucani. The Antece is wearing a tunic with belt and a sword hanging from it on his left side (you can just barely make it out) In his right arm he is holding what appears to be a shield and with the left hand perhaps a spear.

How about some people in the picture.

When I first saw a picture of the Antice there was nothing in the picture that provided perspective, so I assumed it was huge. But as you can see here, it is the size of the typical short Italian man.

Antonio among the other rocks on the summit of the Alburni mountains.

There is a sacrificial altar somewhere around here but we were unable to find it. Some researchers have suggested that the Antece may have represented a god and that the Lucani came here to offer the lives of their animals.

Father (Mario) and son (Michael) after a succesful journey.

The view of the Fasanella Valley as seen by the Antece.

What a view indeed!

Sant' Angelo is below but it can not be seen from this view; to see the town it would be necessary to walk to the very edge and look directly down.

Heading back down.

Strawberry plants.

The plants were not yet mature, but in August they produce very small and incredibly sweet strawberries. I remember eating them right off the vines when I was very young.

Fixing a directional sign for future visitors.

This sign was on the floor. Mario, a carpenter by trade, can't help but fix things. He used a rock as a hammer, not unlike the earliest inhabitants of this area.

On the way down we met a farmer and his children going to feed their veal cutlets.

Well, soon-to-be veal cutlets anyway.

The makeshift home for the young calves.


Large trees next to the calves' enclosure.

If you were to walk straight ahead and up the side of the mountain you would end up at the back of the Antece.

Veal anyone?