This is the thirteenth stage of the Via Appia by foot, from the town of Venosa and finishes a few kilometers outside the town of Melfi
Link to Stage 12: http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=15707440
Link to Stage 14: http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=15810449
In general, the track follows the Via Appia Antica loosely as it's usually not possible to hike the original route anymore. In large part because the old road has been upgraded over the centuries and is now a highway in some section or a main provincial road where cars are speeding by you. In other sections, the road is simply gone. Instead, I've searched for nice roads, a little away from any main roads where there is a lot less traffic (or none at all), while trying to stay true to the original road where possible.
As far as I could find out, Melfi is not an official stop on the Via Appia, but as the track doesn't pass through any towns for at least the next 40 km, I decided to add an extra stop to the track.
Weather permitting, you'll be seeing the volcano near Melfi virtually the entire track.
The track starts at the central roundabout in Venosa and leaves town in a North-Western direction. Just before leaving town, the track exits the asphalted road and takes a shortcut on a dirt road, which was possibly the original road. Back on the road, you follow the main road for 1 km until you pass by a large stone gate (arc). Just after this arc, you leave the main road and follow dirt tracks again for 1 km until you come back to the (same) road you were following before to cross a river.
Follow this road until your odometer reaches around 4.5 km. Here you leave once again the main road for a dirt road on the right side.
At around odometer 5.8 km, the track gets slightly more complicated. At the indicated waypoint, you should follow the edge of a field, not the road. The edge of the field will turn into a dirt road after around 100 meters and you will pass a farm house. After passing the farm house, you'll need to follow the edge of the field once more, but just for 200 meters until you get back on track and cross a small bridge at the bottom of the valley.
Through a gulley on the other side of the valley, the track continues. It's a bit steep, but rather short and at the top, you'll pass by a rather nice looking little church.
Follow the road for another 400 meters and you'll be back on the asphalted road once again. Follow it for 1.5 km, and make a left turn just after the road makes a long curve. From this point, you leave the Via Appia and go towards Melfi.
Follow the road for approximately 4 km, up a 100 meter hill and down a 150 meter valley. Along the way, you pass by a water point, which water probably needs to be treated before consumption.
Once you reach the valley, you cross a bridge and make a left turn on the larger road. Over the next 5 km, you will be gaining around 300 meters of height. Just after the intersection, there is another spring with fresh water. However, it's probably best to treat it. After 700 meters you will pass by another spring. Here you'll find a small pine forest on your right hand side, up the hill. Just at the end of the forest, make a right turn and follow the road through the forest. It will not last very long as the road soon will be through the open fields once again.
Once your odometer reaches around 17 km, you will get a clear view of Melfi and it seems very close by. However, Melfi is surrounded by a gorge. So in the last 2 km, you'll descend 100 meters and finally gain around the same height once more to get to town.
As you enter town, you pass by a waterpoint with potable water (see waypoint). This was the only water point I found in town, so this might be a place where you want to fill up.
You have the option to overnight in Melfi. There are multiple B&Bs as well as some hotels. That would make this stage around 6 km shorter. However, you would need to add those 6 km to the next stage that is already quite long and includes a serious hike.
From the old town, you pass into the new town, and follow the main road out of town. On the way out, you pass by a few small shops along the way.
The slowly snakes up the hill and you see more and more wind turbines around you.
The last bit of the track takes you off the road and into a small forest where you'll be able to find a place to put up a tent. Please note that this is not an official camping ground and you'll need to stealth camp and not leave any garbage the next day.
Enjoy the trail end leave a comment. In particular if you know some interesting way points should be included or an alternate track that could/should be used. Any information is much appreciated.