In common with many other hilltop settlements throughout central and southern Italy, Tricarico is subject to a range of geotechnical and geological hazards which arise largely from the tectonic setting of the area in which it is situated. Hazards include both earthquakes and landslides. The former are experienced throughout the town, but the latter are a problem mainly in locations along the edges of the calcarenite ridge on which the town is built, where the calcarenite and the underlying overconsolidated Pliocene clays are involved. The town possesses an almost perfectly preserved medieval centre, dating from the 10th century. Conservation of this architectural heritage poses a series of problems arising from economic and political pressures, as well as from population changes in this part of Italy, and conservation issues arising out of damage experienced in the November 1980 earthquake are still unresolved, not least because of uncertainty about geological conditions in the worst affected areas of the town. Conservation measures also need to take into account the current instability experienced in the peripheral areas of the historic centre, and the probable future development of these areas. The paper describes a series of investigations into the geotechnical hazards which threaten the town, and which have a bearing on the deliberations of the community in seeking a proper response to the challenges of conservation in such an active area. Among these investigations are surface surveys, and subsurface investigations into the geological structure of the town. From the data it has been possible to draw inferences as to the measures necessary to control slope movements in the worst affected areas. In addition, the effect of the geological structure on the physical response of the town to recent and past seismic events is considered. Proposals for remedial measures to improve slope stability, and strategies to improve the general resistance of the town to seismic damage, are reviewed.

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