Policoro, Province of Matera, Basilicata

Policoro is situated in the middle of the gulf of Taranto in the vicinity of ancient Heraclea, 3 m. from the coast, between the rivers Aciris (Agri) and Sinis (Sinni) about 13 south west of Metapontum. Today it is a modern seaside resort with a well-equipped waterfront.


  • Altitude: mt 25 a.s.l
  • Population: about 17,700 inhabitants in 2018
  • Demonym: policoresi
  • Patron Saint: Madonna del Ponte.

History - the Greek Period

Heraclea was a Greek colony founded by the Tarentines and Thurians in 432 BC. Here Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, defeated the consul Laevinus in 280 BC, after he had crossed the river Sinis (Battle of Heraclea). In 278 BC, or possibly in 282 BC, the Romans made a special treaty with Heraclea. Heraclea surrendered under compulsion to Hannibal in 212 BC and in the Social War the public records were destroyed by fire. Cicero in his defence of the poet Archias, an adopted citizen of Heraclea, speaks of it as a flourishing town.

History - Roman Times

It became a Roman municipium; part of a copy of the Lex Iulia Municipalis of 46 BC (engraved on the back of two bronze tablets, on the front of which is a Greek inscription of the 3rd century BC defining the boundaries of lands belonging to various temples), which was found between Heraclea and Metapontum, is of the highest importance for our knowledge of that law. It was still a place of some importance under the empire; a branch road from Venusia joined the coast road here. The circumstances of its destruction and abandonment are unknown.
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Provinces of Basilicata
Basilicata region
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