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Acerenza, Province of Potenza, Basilicata

The town rises on a rocky tufa spur overlooking the upper valley of the Bradano river, and is one of the most ancient in Basilicata. It is included among the 100 most beautiful Italian boroughs.
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Provinces of Basilicata
Basilicata region
Matera | Potenza

Info

  • Altitude: 833 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 3000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 85011
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0971

History

This is the site of the ancient town of Acheruntia, which was the region's capital for several hundreds of years. It was strategically located at the junction of important Roman roads: the via Appia, the Appia-Traiana and the via Erculea leading to the Ionain coast.

It was founded by the ancient inhabitants of the territory, the Osci, who called it Akere, later changed into Acheruntia. It was a Roman municipium and praefectura, a gastaldat under the Lombards and an important castle throughout the Middle Ages, and from 1059 to 1977 was the Bishopry seat for Basilicata and for centuries also hosted a Seminar. Its diocesis was founded according to some sources by the Saint Peter himself.

What to see

  • The 12th century Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria and San Canio - whose body was found among the ruins of the ancient Cristian church in 1080 -, among the most beautiful in the region, has an Apulian-Gothic portal with small marble columns, surrounded by sculptures with grotesque motifs. Inside is the 16th-century Ferrillo Chapel, all covered in frescoes. Its importance for the whole region explains also its grandeur: 69 m long, 23 wide with 5 massive pillars on each side dividing the interior into three naves, a choir, and chapels all around the main apse. It was built on an early Christian church, which in its turn rose on a pagan temple to Hercules Acheruntinus.

Where to stay