Potenza, Italy

Potenza is a beautiful town and comune in the mountains in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. It’s the capital city of the province of Potenza. At an altitude of around 2,701 feet, it has beautiful mountain views. The town evolved from the Roman town of Potentia, which rebelled against Rome a few times till it was finally subjugated after the second Punic war, around 207 B.C. and was reduced to a military colony. Now, Potenza is the principal town of Basilicata and a center of business. Potenza, perhaps because of its mountainous location, has been subject to earthquakes over its history. A terrible earthquake ravaged not only the town but the region in 1694. Potenza was rocked by an earthquake again on November 23, 1980, but has long since recovered from it. On top of this, the city was bombed fairly thoroughly during World War II, but has recovered from this as well.

Acerenza, Potenza, Basilicata, ItalyPotenza is also a rail and road junction. The train stations include the modern Potenza Centrale at the Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi, and other stations at Viale Sicilia, Contrada Macchia Romana, Via La Marmoa, viale Marconi, 206, Corso Garibaldi, 64 and Via Angilia Vecchia. Potenza has sister cities in Denver, Colorado and Focsani, Romania.

As of April 30, 2009 the population of Potenza was about 68,297. Its patron saint is St. Gerard, a French born saint who’s also a patron saint for chronic and incurable disease. His feast day is May 30.

Potenza’s climate is pleasantly mild, with the average low temperature only about 33.4 degrees F. in January. In the summers the temperature rarely gets about 80 degrees F. The climate is fairy dry, with the city usually receiving three inches of rain or less per month.

Visitors might like to visit the Duomo or the Cathedral of San Gerardo, which was built originally in the 12th C and still retains some elements of the original building. There are also remnants and ruins of old castles like the Torre Guevara and a Roman villa in the town’s Poggio Tre Galli section. Other interesting churches are the Church of San Francesco, the church of Santa Maria del Sepolcro and the church of San Michele.

Potenza’s expansion and wealth was based on industries in the Betlemme and Gallitello plains. The city has surprisingly tall and modern buildings that make for a gorgeous night skyline. Visitors can make excursions from Potenza into the wild and beautiful region of Lucania and northwest to the beautiful Monticchio Lakes.

There are some bed and breakfasts in the area, including Il Patriarca in Albano di Lucania, the Villa delle Rose in Atella, La Falchera in Barile, and the Il Gattocarlo in Genzano di Lucania. Agriturismos in the area are also fascinating places to stay. These are sometimes quite beautiful and roomy farmhouses whose families supplement their income from farming by taking in guests. Some are the Az. Agr. La Valle dei Cavalli in Atella, Masseria dell’Armenia in Forenza, Masseria Sett’Anni in Maschito, L’Araba Fenice in Picerno, and Agriturismo San Pietro in Rapolla.


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