Situated on a small hill along the right bank of the Osento River, it is surrounded by cultivated lands, orchards, vineyards and olive trees. The inhabitants are called "villesi".
In the vicinity there are traces of Roman settlements and monasteries in the hinterland suggest that there have long been human settlements in the area. The present name derives from feudal Lord Alfonso d'Avalos, who founded the place and made it a lively agricultural center.
According to one tradition, he populated the area with refugees from Slavonia (Sclavonia) - actually the belltower of the central church, Madonna della Neve, still bears clear traces of a Slavic architecture. Other sources report that the settlers were not from Slavonia, but Albania.