Abriola (PZ): A commune (area: 96.47 km²; alt. 957 m) of Basilicata, in the province of Potenza. Located 20 km S of Potenza, it is situated on the S slope of Monte Forte (1,444 m), overlooking the confluence of the torrent Marsicano and the river Anzi. Pop. 1,691 (2007e); 1,760 (2003). The majority of the commune is covered by pastures and woodlands. Part of the Comunità Montana Camastra Alto Sauro.
Frazioni & Localities: Arioso, Il Palazzo, Tintiera.
Name of Inhabitants: Abriolani.
Patron Saint(s): S. Valentino. (Feast Day:). Feb. 14
Economy: Agriculture, livestock.
Coordinates: Lat. 40°30’32″N │ Long. 15°48’51″E.
Tel. Prefix: 0971
History: Founded sometime during the 6th or 5th centuries BC by the ancient Samnites, Abriola’s name is believed to derive either from the Latin words aper (=wild boar) or brolium (=reservoir, hunting park). During Roman times, it was a station along the Via Heraclea, the highway running from the city of Grumentum. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Abriola came under the control of Ostrogoths, Byzantines and, for a time, the Saracens. In 907, the Saracen leader Bomar surrendered his stronghold at Abriola to the Lombards in exchange for territory on the river Basento. Abriola was held as a fief by a number of noble families. In the 12th century it came under the control of one Gairmaro of Capaccio. In the following century, Frederick II awarded it to Amerigo of Avezzano. Under the Angevins, it came into the possession of the Filangieri family. In 1799, in response to the establishment of the Parthenopean Republic, Abiola threw off its feudal restraints and established itself as a liberal municipality. This period of independence was crushed when, in 1809, a brigand band loyal to the Bourbon king, Ferdinand I attacked the town. The town’s most prominent citizens and leaders were brutally murdered and many civic and religious leaders were burned. After the Risorgimento, the area around Abriola remained in a state of unrest for many years due to brigandage. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries much of the population emigrated.
Abriola suffered severe earthquakes in 1694, 1857, and 1980.
Points of Interest:
The most significant secular monument is a medieval Saracen fortress whose remains include a square tower and a gateway.
Abriola’s religious monuments include the 15th /16th century parish church of Santa Maria Maggiore which houses several treasures, most notably a painting (1620) depicting the donation of the stole to S. Idelfonso, as well as a 15th century wooden sculpture of the Madonna delle Grazie. There is a painting by Pietrafesa representing the Madonna and Child (Madonma col Bambino). There is also a 15th century silver processional Cross.
Also of note is the 16th century church of S. Gerardo. It contains a 15th century statue of S. Gerardo. The interior walls are decorated with fresco paintings from the second half of the 16th century.
The medieval church of SS. Annunziata is decorated with 17th century fresco works. There are also traces of wall paintings of earlier date.
Other religious monuments include the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Saraceni and the Sanctuary of Monteforte. The latter was reconstructed in the 16th century, incorporating portions of an earlier structure. These include frescoes dating the 11th, 13th and 16th centuries.
Festival of S. Valentino: Feb. 14.
Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Monteforte: June 1.
Commemoration of the 1809 attack on the town: July 23.
Feast of Madonna Assunta (or dell’Assunzione): Aug. 14 (features the return of the image of the Madonna to the Sanctuary of Montforte).
Fair: Sept. 22.
Feast of S. Rocco: Sept. 24.
Famous Natives & Residents: Giovanni Todisco: 16th Century landscape artist; Girolamo Todisco: 16th Century landscape artist.