We present petrographic and mineralogical data for 21 mantle xenoliths (12 lherzolites, 8 wehrlites and 1 composite) selected from a suite of more than 70 samples collected from the Monticchio Formation, Mt. Vulture volcano, southern Italy. The xenoliths are rounded, coarse- to porphyroclastic-textured, and very fresh, with the following equilibrated mineral assemblages; olivine (Fo90–92), orthopyroxene (~En89, Wo2.0), clinopyroxene (Mg90–92, 3–6% Al2O3, 1–1.5% Cr2O3), and chrome-spinel (14–20% MgO, ~30–40% Cr2O3). Many xenoliths contain partial melt glasses and accessory sulphide (pentlandite). Some contain primary mica (phlogopite with ~4% FeO, 1.8% Cr2O3, 1.4–2.8% TiO2) with slightly zoned rims (Fe-, Ti-, Al-enriched). One contains relics of garnet (pyrope; Mg84). Secondary veins in several xenoliths contain carbonate with significant Sr levels (~0.5–1.0% SrO), occasional apatite and scarce melanite, all typical of carbonatites and presumably related to the host magma (melilitite/carbonatite). Although amphibole is a common megacryst in the same volcanic units, no primary amphibole was found in the xenoliths themselves. Calculated pressures and temperatures using a range of geothermometers/barometers give values of 14–22 kbar and 1050–1150°C. In particular, the En-Sp and Di-Sp thermo/barometers (Mercier, 1980) show a good positive correlation between P and T. The Monticchio xenoliths lie on the high-T side of an ‘oceanic’ geotherm. The xenolith geotherm is hotter than general heat flow values in this region at the current day (50 mWm−2) but it compares well with the high-pressure end of a typical alkaline continental rift.