Viggianello is an Italian town in the province of Potenza, Basilicata, located at the foot of the Pollino in the Mercure Valley. It is considered on the list of most beautiful villages in Italy. The point of the highest town is the castle of Roman origin. The Normans built the square tower and restored the walls enclosing the village, but unfortunately we find nearly no traces. The oldest church, Byzantine and Norman, dedicated to St. Nicolas, is in ruins and retains traces of ancient frescoes. The Byzantine chapel of St. Sebastian hosts a precious wooden statue dedicated to Blessed Stefano Seno. Nearby is the calvary, made with local stone, in 1611. In the chapel of the Holy Trinity, we find a typical Byzantine Basilian dome and there are also traces of frescoes. In the mother church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, Byzantine, there are many works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there is a baptismal alabaster fountain of the sixteenth century, a marble altar of the eighteenth century, clams in white marble of XIX century, a pipe organ dated of 1880, a Virgin made in stone of sixteenth century, a wooden statue of the saint patron, a relic of the Holy of Alexandria and a crypt where there are, among many burials, three mummified priests sitting on a bench and covered in gold clothes. The church of Santa Maria della Grotta has a white stone Renaissance portal. The economy is based on tourism, which is growing. In the products of the region there are olives, grapes, cereals, fruit, cheese with the strong presence of raising goats and cattle. There are also a number of archaeological sites.
There is plenty to see in the village, but if you want to enjoy your visit in conjunction with a celebration of the country, consider that at Easter there’s a Via Living Crucis, the first week after Easter and last week of August there are festivities in honor of St. Francis of Paul. The third Sunday of August is the celebration of the Madonna del Carmine, festivities related to crops, especially wheat, and the fertility of the fields.
The pilgrimage to the Madonna dell’alto (900m) in the old town, is the last Sunday of May and the first Sunday in September. A simple gesture made popular devotional prayers and songs that are full of effort and boldness for the long trail that connects the old town to the Sanctuary (about 15 km). In May, the Virgin is climbed to the mountain where it remains for three months until September to return to the Church of St. Francis of Paul.
Another ancient tradition of the village is the festival of fires on March 19th and April 2nd where they are burned in the streets of the old town and neighborhoods as a sign of good luck and good wishes for a fruitful spring and auspicious season.
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