Latronico ([la'troniko] pronounced Latruonicu in the local dialect) is a village in the province of Potenza in Basilicata and it has a population of 4823 inhabitants. Located in the south-western
part of the province, it is situated at 888 m above sea level at the entrance of the river Sinni valley. The village stands at the foot of Mount Alpi, an imposing mountain of the southern Appennines
formed by three peaks called Santa Croce (1893 m), Punta del Corvo (1880 m) and Pizzo Falcone (1900 m). Latronico has an area of 75.98 km² and is mainly mountainous; the river Sinni and
Fiumitello torrent run through it and both are torrential streams.
Latronico borders the following municipalities: Episcopia (14 km), Castelluccio Superiore (19 km), Castelluccio Inferiore (20 Km), Lauria (22 km), Carbone (24 km), Castelsaraceno e Fardella (25 km).
Besides, it is far 118 km from Potenza and 129 km from Matera.
Initially the upper part of the village was the first to develop. In fact, the town-planning spreads like wildfire with Capadavutu area (that means at the top of the village and where the old town
centre is situated) and Capabbasciu (that means situated in the lower part). A monastery of Jesuit monks rose in the so-called Munisterio area in ancient times.
Coat of arms
The three mountains topped by three stars with five silver rays recall Mount Alpi and they stand for the unity of the inhabitants and the deep tie between them and this mount.
According to many people, the name “Latronico “ could come from two Greek terms meaning “hidden place” while others think it is a derivation from the Greek word “ Latomia” ( the stone
quarry that the village still possesses) and the suffix – ico.
Similarly, the origins of the village are unknown. Over the years archaeological researches have proved that a community coming from Enotria had lived in the area known as “Colle dei Greci”,
and that there have been human settlements in Latronico territory since the Mesolithic Era (about 8,000 B.C). In fact, the evidence of a primitive community has been found in the caves of Calda’s
area; that community had lived there in small groups for more than 6,000 years developing a rural economy. Probably the first settlement dates back to the early Middle Ages when a rural
population settled on the highest hill to escape Lombard and Saracen raids.
Latronico’s historical events are unknown from the 3rd century B.C. to the 11th century A.D. when the name Latronico appears for the first time in a document, the Syllabus Graecarum
Membranarum in 1063. Afterwards the village became a feud of Cola di Jonata, Sanseverino, Palmieri, Corcione and Jesuits. When Jesuits were banished from the Kingdom of Naples in 1767,
the feud passed to the State Property Office. At the end of the 18th century Latronico had an active role in the political life of Parthenopean Republic: some inhabitants who had believed in the revolutionary ideas of brotherhood, freedom and equality were included in the so-called "Notamento dei Rei di Stato" and, as a result, they were sent to prison and then sentenced to death.
Like in many regions of Southern Italy, from 1861 to 1865 in Latronico there were bandits organized in gangs. The most famous ones were Nicola De Luca’s (known as Scaliero) and Francesco Viola’s (nicknamed Pedatella). When the First World War broke out Latronico gave its contribution to the nation paying the price of fifty-two soldiers dead and missing in action and twelve disabled.
Sulphur and magnesium springs have been exploiting since the Twenties in Calda’s area. In fact, during the fascism a company was set up and a spa complex was built; this made Latronico one
of the most important places of hydrotheraphy in Basilicata. In the same period the rural areas of Agromonte Magnano and Agromonte Mileo became part of Latronico municipality. During the
Sixties Latronico had its biggest population increase, but there hasn’t been such growth anymore because of emigration.
St Giles Abbot’s Minor Papal Basilica
St Giles Abbot’s Minor Papal Basilica is located in the old town centre in the square with the same name. The basilica was likely extended in 1570 when the saint statue was sculptured. The church
collapsed partially because of 1837 and 1857 earthquakes and its rebuilding was finished in 1859. Those earthquakes influenced the way the present-day basilica was built: low and with huge
columns. The church has got a nave and two aisles divided by six doric capital columns. The first two nave columns house two local marble holy-water stoups dating back to 1859. On the right-side transept there is an 18th century oil painting portraying St Alphonse. The apse side walls house “Sant'Egidio nella gloria”, an oil painting by Emilio Larocca from Trecchina and “Vita di Sant'Egidio”, a polyptych by Egidio Viola from Latronico. On the left-side transept there is “Incontro di Sant'Egidio col re Wamba”, an 18th century fresco from which the miracle of St Manna has been oozing in March Fridays since 1709. Nearby there is a niche that holds a marble statue of 1570 portraying St Giles. In 1998 a crypt was built to preserve a finely carved silver marble bust of St Giles, Latronico’s patron saint. This church was proclaimed Minor Basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1971.
St Nicholas’s church
St Nicholas’s church dates back to the 12th century and overlooks the village. It is one of the most characteristic buildings of the old town centre and it has got a nave and a square bell tower. The
presbytery is built on mezzanine floor and, on the altar, there is “Madonna della Pietà”, an 18th century oil painting by Simone Oliva from Tursi restored in 1852. In 2009 in the course of an art
exhibition some timed red lights were installed on the bell tower so as to light it every fifteen minutes. The light lasts sixty-four seconds in memory of Latronico’s casualties during the First
Santa Maria delle Grazie’s church
Santa Maria delle Grazie’s Church stood at the centre of the present-day square of the village. It was demolished in order to extend the square and it was moved to Munisterio district where St Conception’s Chapel was situated.
The church has got a nave and a square bell tower and it preserves a baroque altar with a fresco portraying the Crucified dating back to the 18th century. The 18th century wooden statue of “Santa Maria delle Grazie” is really noteworthy. It has been restored since 1988 and reopened in 1996.
St Cataldo’s chapel
St Vitus’s chapel
St Anthony’s chapel
This ancient palace belonged to the Arcieri family, one of the wealthiest families of landowners and the one who had been able to express the highest cultural level throughout the 19 th century.
The palace is located at 96, Dante Street, it had sixty-four rooms and a private oratory. The back yard, the voluted portal with the family coat of arms and a wrought-iron fan window show local
craftmen mastery to work the local stone.
The imposing palace that dominates Latronico’s main square belonged to the Gioia family. It was used not only as a residence but also as a warehouse. The main entrance has got a remarkable
white marble portal with the family coat of arms.
Old Town Centre
Several local stone and marble portals, votive shrines and winding alleys characterize the old town centre. The most interesting portals are situated at 124 and 191/193, Dante Street. The one located at 124 belonged to the Maturi family and it has got an interesting portal decorated with floral and animalistic elements. The portal located at 191/193 is made of local stone and it has got a floral frieze and the year 1548 carved in bas-relief on the keystone.
This is one of the most beautiful view of Latronico. The “Calanchi” delimit the old town centre and they let you admire the mountains of the Pollino National Park, Lauria, Colle dei Greci and the most part of the Sinni Valley. They are gullies derived from the clayey soil erosion and look like sharp fan-shaped ridges next to each other delimiting narrow and steep thalwegs.
Anish Kapoor's Earth Cinema
“Earth Cinema” is a work of art by the international artist Anish Kapoor made in the open spaces of Calda’s spa complex. It is made of concrete and it is a sort of cut in the ground ( 45m long and
7m deep) where people can enter from both sides and see inside the surrounding ground through a long slit.
Colle dei Greci
Over the years there have been many archeological researches that have discovered several interesting archaeologic sites. One of these is “Colle dei Greci” hill where small communities coming from Enotria lived between the 7th century and the 5th century BC. In many burial places of the hill archaelogists have excavated Greek-type vases, swords, daggers, firedogs, helmets, bronze basins and even a grave with a skeleton dating back to 2500 years ago.
Calda’s caves are characterized by stalactites and stalagmites. Many archaeological finds between 8000 BC and 1300 BC have been excavated. Archaeologists have found ceramic ware dating back
to the Copper Age, the Neolithic and the Bronze Age and they are on exhibition at Latronico’s Archeological Museum.
On Mount Alpi slopes in Iannazzo’s rural area there is a big stone slab with a fossil fish. According to experts, it is an Istiophoridae specimen of makaira genus dating back to 30 million years
ago also known as marlin. It is 235 cm long, 95 cm high and it represents an important proof of Miocene peculiar sea habitat.
Latronico is situated in the Pollino National Park and is rich in wide natural areas equipped with tourist facilities and alpine paths.
Set in the green of Contrada Calda, there are Terme Lucane (Lucan thermal baths) where you can enjoy various body treatments and stay in comfortable accommodation structures. The
spa complex uses the therapeutic value of sulphureous water rich in calcium and bicarbonate, suitable for the treatment of respiratory, rheumatic and gastroenteric diseases. Health benefits of
this water have been exploited since the early twentieth-century.
Latronico’s local wood, called Malboschetto, covers an area of about 700 hectares with a population of five million six hundred plants. Among the trees, Turkey oaks and beeches are
abundant, silver firs and black pines are also present. The underwood consists of strawberry and blackberry bushes as well as mushrooms. Malboschetto is located on the western border of
Monte Alpi, at an altitude between 850 to 1070 metres above sea level. By road you can reach a mountain dew, about 1000 above sea level, and an area equipped with tables, benches and
The mountain peak, not easy to be reached in certain periods of the year, is a natural unspoilt area which holds the loricate pine. It is the most northerly area in Italy where the loricate pine
grows, at an altitude between 1200 to 1700 m. above sea level. Mount Alpi is an excellent place for mountain hikes and naturalistic walks. You can reach the top of the mountain by road, then continuing on foot for the last leg or you can follow the alpine paths accompanied by expert local guides.
The town pinewood is characterized by a thick vegetation of silver firs, black pines, cedars, cypresses and covers an area of about 4 hectares. It is located just outside the city, to the north
of the Munisterio district and near St Vitus Chapel. The area, equipped with a bar and a restaurant, is forbidden to cars.
Bonifacio De Luca (Latronico, 1727 - Latronico, 1798), poet and writer
Gaetano Arcieri (Castelluccio Superiore, 1794 - Latronico, 1867), jurisconsult and writer
Antonio Maria Arcieri (Latronico, 1819 - Latronico, 1894), lawyer, lecturer, member of Parliament and senator of the Kingdom of Italy
Raffaele Maturi (Latronico, 1832 - Napoli, 1910), doctor, philosopher, lecturer,
Pino Forastiere (Latronico, 1966), guitarist
One of the most important events is St Giles’s Day and the traditional procession of the patron statue along the streets. This feast lasts 3 days from August 30th to September 1st and it is very
well-known. On that day, all the streets are decked out with festive illumination and Latronico is crowded with vendors, emigrants, bands and artists.
All the year round several cultural events are organised. In August the Palio Rionale di S. Egidio takes place and local teams face each other in many sport competitions. The Tassello cultural
association organises TasselloPrize to award a prize to those people who have obtained great professional results.
Another outstanding event is Terme Live Festival, a music festival that guests artists of the international and Italian music scene. Recently, Latronico has been included as a stage in
Risollevante Tour, a comedy tour of Martina Franca Cabaret Festival.
The first Friday of each month the city market is held along the streets and squares of Funtana Villa district.
You can reach Latronico by: