Melfi (mĕlˈfē) [key], town (1991 pop. 15,757), in Basilicata, S Italy. It is an agricultural and tourist center noted for its wine. In 1041 it was made the first capital of the Norman county of Apulia. At Melfi Emperor Frederick II promulgated (c.1231) his important code, the Constitutions of Melfi, or Liber Augustalis. In 1528 the town was sacked by the French under Lautrec, and it never recovered its position as a flourishing commercial center. Earthquakes have damaged the Norman castle (11th–13th cent.) and the cathedral (reconstructed 18th cent.), but the campanile (1153) still stands.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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