The “city of the harp” and cult of the Black Madonna
To discover the history and traditions of Basilicata, we recommend visiting Viggiano, a small town in the province of Potenza, perched along the ridge of the upper Agri Valley.
It is home to one of southern Italy’s most important spiritual sites, the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna of the Sacro Monte di Viggiano. This sacred place, on one of the highest mountains in the Lucanian Apennines and accessible via a 12-kilometre route from the centre of Viggiano, is home to a 6th-century statue of the Madonna that is carried in a procession to the village centre every spring. Viggiano’s renowned Monument to the Madonna and her bearers, created in bronze by Potenza-born sculptor Felice Lovisco, is dedicated to this tradition.
Viggiano is also the land of the harp, a tradition dating back to the Kingdom of Naples. The large piazza San Giovanni XXIII, in the shape of a harp, is dedicated to this musical instrument, as is one of its four statues, representing a harp player.