town and episcopal see, Basilicata regione, southern Italy, at the foot of the volcanic mass of Monte Vulture, at an elevation of 1,742 feet (531 m), north of Potenza. Of Roman origin, the town was taken from the Byzantines by the Normans, who, for a period, made it their capital. It was a favourite residence of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II, who there assembled the Parliament that passed the Constitutions of Melfi. The town later declined, passing successively to the Caracciolo, Philip of Orange, the Doria, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, before becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Although it suffered from several earthquakes and was rebuilt after that of 1851, some important monuments remain. These include the Romanesque cathedral with its campanile (1153; rebuilt 1281) and the 13th-century Norman castle
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