Acerenza (or Accerenza) (PZ): A commune of Basilicata, in the province of Potenza.
Former Names (if any): (anc. Acherontia; Acheruntia, Aceruntia or Acerentia).
Region: Basilicata│ Province: Potenza.
Coordinates: Lat. 40°47’35″N │ Long. 15°56’14″E.
Location/Setting: Located 41 km. NE of Potenza, it sits on a steep limestone hill between the river Bradano and a tributary of the Fiumasella. Part of the Comunità Montana Alto Bradano.
Alt.: 833 m.
Area: 7,713 km².
Population: 3,010 (2001).
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities:
CAP: 85011
Tel. Prefix: 0971
Name of Inhabitants: Acheruntino, Acheruntini.
Patron Saint(s):  S. Canio Martire (Feast Day: May 25).
Economy: Traditionally, Acerenza’s economy was devoted almost exclusively to wine, and it still remains a center for the production of Aglianico del Vulture DOC wine. After a severe outbreak of pyloxera devastated the vineyards, other products increased in importance, notably wheat, olive oil, sausage and cheese.
History: Archaeological evidence shows that the town is of prehistoric, Oscan origin. In ancient times it was known as Acerentia, Aceruntia, Acheruntia or Acherontia. Because of its strategically important position along the frontier between Lucania and Apulia, the Romans captured it in 318 BC. Horace (Odes III, IV, 14) referred to it as “the high nest of Acherontia.” The town rose to the status of a colonia during the Late Republic. Under the Empire, the town became the seat of one of Italy’s earliest known diocese. Documentary evidence exists for a bishop named Justus dating to AD 499. Today Acerenza is the seat of an archdiocese.
                Acerenza’s strategic location was readily apparent to the medieval invaders of Italy. From here it was possible to overlook much of the Adriatic and Mediterranean, making it a vital prize to anyone seeking control over southern Italy. Strongly fortified by 6th century Ostrogothic King Totila, it was later fought over by the Byzantines and Lombards. As part of the Lombard Duchy of Benevento (6th-9th centuries), Acerenza became the administrative seat of a semi-independent chamberlain or seneschal. Grimwald, the Duke of Benevento from AD 687 to 689, did much to restore the prosperity of the town. During the 9th century, the Byzantines dominated the region. During the reign of Nichophorus Phocas (963-69), they forced the Catholic diocese to adopt the Greek Rite, becoming suffragan to Otranto. In 1041, the city fell to the Normans, who strengthened the town with new fortifications. Damage was suffered from earthquakes in 1694, 1851, 1857, 1905, 1910, 1930, 1980, and 1982.

Historical Population Figures < < < < <






























Points of Interest: The waters of the fountain of the La Pila have long been held to have curative powers for liver and gastrointestinal problems.
The Palazzo Ducale dates from the 15th century.
Other monuments of note are a cylindrical tower of later date than the cathedral, and the 18th century Palazzo Saluzzi.
The Museo Diocesano contains several interesting paintings, sculptures, hangings, and other sacred artifacts from the various churches of the diocese.
The principal monument is the Cathedral of Assunta e S. Canio. Founded by the Normans in 1080, it was rebuilt as a Romanesque structure in 1281. Although the original cathedral had three entrances through the façade (remodeled in 1524), the right one was eliminated in the second structure to make way for towers. It possesses a splendid west portal. The central portico has 12th century Apulian-Romanesque truncated columns and an arch supported by columns with bases carved in the shape of men and monkeys. The interior plan is in the shape of a Latin cross. Large pillars separate the nave and two aisles. Three radiating apsidoles in the ambulatory are accessed through a fine wooden portal. Among the numerous treasures is an Ionic capital converted into a holy-water stoup. Perhaps the best artwork consists of a pair of 16th century panels: the first of these showing a Pieta, the other a Madonna of the Rosary. Two Renaissance portals provide access to the crypt that is decorated with some early 16th century frescoes. The dome of the structure is a relatively recent addition. A small museum houses a famous bust once thought to have been that of St. Canus or Canius (? Ascanius). Modern scholars, however, are divided on the identity of the figure. One group believes the bust is the earliest known depiction of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (rAD 361-363). Others identify it as the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily Frederick Ii “the Great”.
                Two other religious buildings of note are the 11th/ 12th century churches of SS. Annunziata and S. Laviero (the latter possessing interesting arcades and a dome).
Medieval historical procession- Aug 12.