San Gerardo La Porta - Patrono di Potenza

Festival of the Patron Saint

A great event across faith, religious worship and tradition takes place every year.

The patron saint of Potenza, Saint Gerardo da Piacenza, is celebrated each year, on the 30th of May, when his effigy is carried in procession along the main streets of the capital. The day before, during the Historical Parade of the Turks, the sacred merges with the profane, history and legend come together and the ancient and the modern combine to give birth to one whole thing.


Gentlemen on steeds covered with drapes parade through the main streets of the city, next to commoners on small carts pulled by oxen, along with slaves, odalisques, flag-wavers, jugglers, sword throwers and other performers. This very long historical procession recalls three moments: the 19th century, with a commemoration in Piazza Sedile where the traditional Iaccara is lighted; the 16th century, at Porta Salza, where Count Alfonso de Guevara receives the silver keys of the city; and the third ‘picture’, with the procession and popular devotion to the Patron Saint in the 12th century. The Parade narrates the legend according to which, as a result of San Gerardo’s intercession, the invasion of the Turks who wanted to besiege the city was stopped.


“Lu Braccial” – Popular song dedicated to San Gerardo

Je facc’ lu braccial e nun lu nèa,
e so cuntent e so cuntent assaie.

Nun l’abbanduneragg’ mai mai,
la zappa, lu zappit e lu pagliare.

Mò m’zappa l’urticiedd’
Mò m’zappa lu seminar,
e ogni anno ‘nu purciedd
nun me l’aggia fa mai manca!

Tigne na vigna accant à la jumara
Me pare na canestra chiena d’uva

Tigne na casa n’dreta a lu pagliare
ca quann’ trase vire lu monn’ nuove:
Int’ è chiéne d’ patate,
savucicchie e vine nuovo;
chi la iàsca e chi l’ucciuòlo,
ie me sènt’ d’arricrià!

Domenica m’aggia mett’ lu vuariniedd’,
Ca aggia gì appress a la prucessiona,
ca è la festa d’ lu Prutettore
ca stà esposto sova a lu muraglione.

San Gerarde Prutettore De Putenza Generale
Gnanna fa piglià nu mal’ a chi l’anna disprezzà!

*voice of Michele di Potenza


The Musmeci Bridge


Modern architecture is finely represented by the Musmeci Bridge, which might be a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List. The bridge takes its name from the engineer who built it in the late 1960s.

This architectural sight represents the ideal backdrop for avant-garde art with its elegant plasticity.

The Stabile Theatre


Nominated as the “Historic regional theatre” in 2014, it is considered as one of the main sights of artistic excellence in the region.

The construction started in 1856, and it was officially opened on the 26th of January 1881, on the occasion of the arrival of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy in Potenza.

Located in a very central position in Piazza Francesco Mario Pagano, the theatre is named after local musician Francesco Stabile. Its structure, decorations and design boast features very similar to those of the San Carlo Theatre in Naples. The stalls, three levels of boxes and the gallery surround the orchestra and the stage. Its small size makes it a one-ofa-kind gem. During the year it hosts cultural events of great prestige.

Potenza, the typical cuisine


Not to be lost is the typical cuisine.

Simplicity and freshness are the hallmarks, starting from fresh pasta, traditionally made by hand using only two ingredients: water and flour. Handmade pasta is the undisputed star of local cuisine and flavoured by either vegetables or meat ragù.

Potenza still has a long tradition of using dairy products characterised by the production of soft cheese filled with butter, mozzarella, soft cheese, ricotta, caciocavallo and pecorino.

Among the typical products there are also the meat sausage, salami and small pieces of meat conserved in oil or lard.

Potenza, nature and parks


Potenza is surrounded by numerous parks and public villas where you can take regenerating walks or admire breathtaking views.

The Montereale park is the historic green space of the city, but the capital city has got many vast green areas, such as the Villa of Santa Maria, Baden Powell Park, Elisa Claps Park, Basento River Park and Europa Unita Park.

It’s only 10 km from Potenza to Pignola, the northern access point to the Appennino Lucano-Val d’Agri-Lagonegrese National Park, a protected area with endless scope for walking, mountain-bike trails and bridle paths.

10 km from here lies the La Sellata Pass and Abriola, located right in the centre of the Sellata-Pierfaone-Arioso range. In winter, this is the area’s main skiing centre and offers wonderful walking in summer. Here it’s not unusual to encounter wild horses or herds of grey Podolica cows, whose milk is used to make the typical local cheese, caciocavallo. The 12th-century sanctuary church of Madonna di Monteforte, situated on the side of Mount Pierfaone (1,444 m), is a popular pilgrimage site.

About 30 km south-east of Potenza lies the sandstone massif of the Piccole Dolomiti Lucane, a jagged mountain range with vertical cliffs and weirdly-shaped pinnacles of rock. The mountains of the Lucanian Dolomites were formed 15 million years ago. Some of the most famous features are the Costa di San Martino, culminating in Mount Impiso (1,319 m), the Cresta Tavernaro (1,390 m) and Mount Caperrino (1,455 m). The mountains, surrounded by dense forests of turkey oak, maple and sweet-chestnut, are part of the Gallipoli CognatoPiccole Dolomiti Lucane Natural Park.

Located a few kilometres from Potenza, the WWF Oasis that contains the Lake of Pantano di Pignola which spreads out into a valley surrounded by mountains.

Cathedral and main churches


Among the main historical and architectural sights of the capital, it is particularly worth mentioning the many churches, which embed an extraordinary artistic heritage, starting from San Gerardo Cathedral. Originally dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, between the 12th and 13th centuries it was named after Saint Gerard. The Cathedral is located on the highest point of the historic centre. Its construction dates back to the 13th century, but it was rebuilt in the 18th century according to a design by architect Magri, a pupil of Vanvitelli. The interior houses a Roman sarcophagus containing the remains of Saint Gerard, while below the main altar, a crypt with a polychrome mosaic of the 3rd-4th century has been found. The bronze doors of the main façade, made by Calabrian sculptor Giuseppe Niglia in 1968, are valuable.

20 Basilicas, Sights and Enchantment Furthermore, on the main city centre’s street, via Pretoria, you can visit the Chiesa di San Michele, that was founded in 1178 and is a treasure trove of works of art: a 16th-century fresco depicting the Virgin enthroned with the child and an Annunciation, a masterpiece by Pietrafesa; the Chiesa di San Francesco, dating back to the 13th century, which houses treasured 14th-century frescoes, and another depicting the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, made in the 1500s by Todisco; the Chiesa della Trinità, dating back to the 11th century, and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1857. Near the historic centre, the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Sepolcro, one of the most ancient churches in the city, dating back to the 12th-13th century, is really worth a visit. The interior boasts a 17th-century wooden coffered ceiling and several works of art dating back to the 15th century.

Potenza and the cinema

Basilicata, land of cinema! There is not only Matera, in recent years Potenza was the location of several Italian films by well-known directors and artists. “La Sorpresa”, by Ivan Polidoro, produced by Movie Factory of Rome, is one of the most recent films whose scenes have also been shot in Potenza.

In 2014 actors such as Carlo Buccirosso and Fabio Volo wandered through the streets of the city, shooting the movie "La Grande Seduzione" directed by Massimo Gaudioso.

In Potenza were also shot some scenes of the films "Quando il Sole Sorgerà" (2012) by Andrea Manicone and starring Lorenzo Flaherty, and "The accountant of the mafia" (2013) based on a novel having the same name by Donald Vergari, directed by Federico Rizzo starring again Lorenzo Flaherty.

Sport in Potenza


In autumn and winter the natural areas of Basilicata are suited to enjoying new activities, especially when the snow starts covering the highest peaks and the numerous ski resorts perched on top of them welcome groups of ski lovers.

Nestled near Potenza and right at the heart of the National Park of Appenino Lucano – Val d’Agri, is the ideal destination of ‘Sellata Arioso’.

The city also offers many sports facilities for sport climbing, tennis or football lovers.

Potenza, the European City of Sport 2021/2022, is a land for all sport lovers.

National Archaeological Museum "Dinu Adamesteanu"


Since 2005, the prestigious Palazzo Loffredo, in the heart of Potenza historic centre, has housed the national archaeological museum of Basilicata, named after Dinu Adamesteanu, the Romanian archaeologist who was the first head of the archaeological heritage office of Basilicata region (1964-1977).
The museum boasts an exhibition space of over two thousand square metres, where the story of an ancient past is narrated. Two floors, featuring 22 rooms and 8 sections, illustrate the region’s cultural evolution, from the period preceding Greek colonisation to the Roman conquest.

The Roman Villa of Malvaccaro


In Potenza, it is certainly worth visiting the Roman Villa of Malvaccaro built in the second half of the 4th century AD, as well as the mosaico di Malvaccaro (mosaic of Malvaccaro), which decorated the interior of the villa where some precious ceramics of the 2nd-4th century were also found.