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Comune di Grassano
Coat of arms of Grassano
Coat of arms
Location of Grassano
Grassano is located in Italy
Location of Grassano in Italy
Grassano is located in Basilicata
Grassano (Basilicata)
Coordinates: 40°38′N 16°17′E / 40.633°N 16.283°E / 40.633; 16.283
 • MayorFilippo Luberto
 • Total41.63 km2 (16.07 sq mi)
576 m (1,890 ft)
 • Total5,228[1]
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0835
Patron saintSaint Innocent
Saint daySeptember 22
WebsiteOfficial website



The name derives from Grassus, a Roman noble name or from a fat land, that is fertile.

It is located on the Via Appia of ancient Rome. The oldest document that has news of the country is the Papal Bull of Callisto II, written in 1123, where it is referred to as the "Crassanum"; while from the Angioino Registry of Basilicata of 1280 we learn that it was a "farmhouse" belonging to Tricarico. At the beginning of the 1300s the fief of Grassano was donated by the Lords of Tricarico to the Order of Gerosolomitano, also known as the Knights of Malta, who owned it until the beginning of the 19th century. It became one of the most important Commendas of the Basilicata Order of Basilicata, so much so that from the Commenda of Grassano depended as many as 17 grunts located in various Lucanian and Apulian countries. The Knights of Malta held civil jurisdiction, while the penal one belonged to the Sanseverinos and the Revertera of Tricarico. The latter later passed to the prince of Bisignano, the De Novellis and the Revertera of Salandra. In the sixteenth century, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had a period of wealth and reached with the administration of the Commendatori (until 1797) a certain autonomy; it was enlarged due to the notable demographic increase due to immigration from neighboring countries. In 1799, at the time of the proclamation of the Parthenopean Republic, the Grassanese Francesco Saverio Caputi was a substitute member of the provisional government of the republic and, after the fall of the same, ten Grassanese were condemned to exile. In 1861, immediately after the unification of Italy, intolerant of the unjust fiscal burden, the entire population chased the cry of "Viva Francesco I", the national guards shot after having disarmed them. In the nineteenth century the wooded area of the territory was easy to hide for the brigands, but the grassmen managed to capture the band of the ferocious Mattia Maselli. During Fascism it was a land of confinement and hosted Carlo Levi, the painter and writer doctor who immortalized this city in his paintings and in the book "Christ stopped at Eboli".


Grassano was founded around 1000 AD. The first official document including the town's name is dated 1123 when it was known as "castellum quod vocatur Crassanum". In the 15th century, Grassano was officially a rural seat of the Tricarico's Diocese. Grassano's people later asked King Ladislaus of Naples for an independence act, and Grassano has remained an independent village since January 19, 1414.

Carlo Levi was arrested and exiled to Grassano because of his anti-fascist activities. In Grassano, Levi painted about 70 pictures and started discovering southern Italy's problems. After the Second World War, he wrote his most famous book, Christ Stopped at Eboli.[when?][citation needed]

Anna Briganti, the grandmother of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, originated in Grassano. By 1905 she was married and well-established in New York.[2]

Since 2002, Grassano, with Aliano (the second place where Levi was exiled) is an active Literary Park.

CARLOS LEVI: INFORMATION FROM THE GRASSANO TOWN WEBSITE: "Carlo Levi" Literary Park By decree of July 15, 1935, of the Provincial Commission of Rome for the assignment to the confinement of police, Carlo Levi was sentenced to three years of confinement to be discounted in Grassano, where he arrived on August 3 of the same year. On 5 August, two days after arriving in Grassano, Levi wrote: "Grassano is at the top of a hill at a very slow slope: the hills are all cultivated with wheat, the threshers work and the fields go on horseback the peasants to go to distant fields, and how pleasant it is to contemplate from my room, through the thick antimalarial networks of the windows, the walk on the village road, or the peaceful passing of the goats, or see the women draw water in some of their barrels , at the fountain: The goodness of the inhabitants and the kindness of the authorities surpassed all my expectations. " Already in this letter are evident all the pleasant feelings and impressions that will bind, then, the writer to the Lucanian village, described in his masterpiece "Christ has stopped at Eboli", as a "white country on top of a high hill" desolate, like a small imaginary Jerusalem in the solitude of a desert. " And yet this is how it is expressed on November 30th when Levi returns to Grassano from Aliano: "I had arrived there after months of absolute solitude: I had seen them for the first time the stars and the moon and the plants and animals and the faces of the men: I was fixed in my memory as a land of freedom "! Carlo Levi remained in Grassano from 3 August to 3 October 1935 and returned on 30 November, when he stayed for a week with the excuse of completing the paintings already begun and to find again the people, the friends and the pleasant climate he had forced to abandon following the transfer ordered by the Prefect of Matera. The locality, in fact, near the railway station, did not appear suitable for a stay of confinement, allowing a more 'easy arrival of friends, as well as' mail that could escape the censorship.Per this reason had been transferred to Aliano, the Municipality more isolate of the province of Matera. Carlo Levi obtained his liberation on May 20, 1936, on the occasion of the proclamation of the Empire. He returned to Grassano in 1960, now a well-known scholar and painter, to perform a series of photographs for the construction of the large panel, over 18 meters long, for the Basilicata pavilion at the Turin exhibition in "Italia 61". He died in Rome on January 4, 1975.

Grassano has recently become a Literary Park where it is possible to visit the places that inspired the author: Corso Umberto, the Chiesa Madre, the Locanda Prisco, the road of the caves, the streets of the "casedde" and the "lammioni".


  1. ^ Bilancio demografico Istat
  2. ^ Sam Roberts, "Census Records Shed a New Light on Some of the Mayor's Forebears", New York Times, June 2, 2014