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|Comune di Policoro|
|• Mayor||Enrico Mascia (centro-sinistra)|
|• Total||67.66 km2 (26.12 sq mi)|
|Elevation||25 m (82 ft)|
|• Density||260/km2 (680/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||Madonna of the Bridge|
Policoro (Lucano: Pulecòre) is a town and comune in the province of Matera, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. It is bounded by the towns of Rotondella, Scanzano Jonico and Tursi. Policoro is a relatively small town of approximately 17,000 inhabitants. Situated on the coast, its population swells in the summertime due to an influx of tourists who come to enjoy the Lido di Policoro.
The construction of the town started in 680 BCE thanks to the Greeks, who were coming from Colophon, but the town was destroyed in the 6th century BCE by the Achaean colonies in coalition with Metaponto, Crotone, and Sibari.
In 432 BCE, the town was rebuilt in the same place as before and was called Heraclea (also Heracleia or Herakleia). In very little time, it became richer and more famous than the nearby town Siris. In 280 BCE, the famous Battle of Heraclea happened there during the war between Taranto and Rome. In these places, Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated, with the help of his soldiers and elephants, Rome’s troops in a bloody battle, leading to numerous casualties in what has been called “una vittoria di Pirro” or Pyrrhus’s victory.
The Tables of Heraclea date back to this period and they are now located in the Archeology Museum of Naples. These ancient bronze tablets contain texts in Greek and Latin that discuss public and constitutional rules and laws of the town, one such being “Lex Iulia Municipalis.”
During the Middle Ages, the entire area depopulated and Heraclea lost its prestige, becoming a little village that remained on a small hill. It was called Policoro, Πολύχωρον meaning "large place" in Greek. The population was sheltered from nearby villages, which were threatened, by numerous invasions and raids. Eventually, the village became a baronial feud and the town developed around the baronial castle, used as a residence from 1000 CE for hunting because of the vast forests owned by local noble families such as the Berlingieri which was also the name of the forest.
Only after 1950, thanks to the work to reclaim the land which had become marshy and unhealthy over the centuries and also to the agrarian reform which split and redistributed the land to guarantee a fast development and resettlement, Policoro received municipal autonomy. This change attracted families to move to Policoro from all parts of the region. Today, Policoro is the most important Lucanian town that is located on the Ionian Sea and offers plenty of attractions to the numerous visitors that come during the summer months.
Geography and Weather
Policoro is situated four km from the pinewood and the seaside. It is on the Ionian coast 70 km far from Taranto and Matera. Policoro has a hot Mediterranean climate and enjoys mild winters with moderate rainfall. Summers are warm to hot and also dry and sunny. Rainfall is rare in this season, and a typical July has only two or three days with measurable rainfall. The temperature is typically above 20 °C and frequently reaches 30 °C+. The average maximum temperature in the warmest months (July and August) is around 37 °C. During winter, days can be either sunny and dry or damp and rainy. Frost is unusual and snowfall is extremely rare that they are remembered by the townspeople as special events. The last noticeable snowfall occurred in early January 2017. The average minimum temperature in January is around 7 °C. Spring starts mild and rainy in late March and becomes increasingly warmer and sunnier towards June.
Policoro is very important for tourism; in fact a lot of people come here for the sea and for other places like restaurants and hotels. To spend the summer holiday, tourists come to Policoro especially during the summer to go to the sea in the morning, and in the evening they can go to the seaside where there are a lot of pubs and clubs. The city is also famous for the Museo della Siritide. Here, there are a lot of Greek and Roma artifacts that come from Metaponto, Heraclea, Tursi, Aliano, and Latronico. The relics are normally swords, vases, knives, jewels, and other decorative elements. If you like animals, you must visit the WWF Oasi. It is an oasis near the sea and there are a lot of local protected species like the rosalia longicorn and the badger.
In Policoro, there is a museum called Museo della Siritide. The National Museum of Siritide has a wealth of information on the Greek settlement of Heraclea, the ruins of which lie on the outskirts of the town and can be viewed daily with a minimal charge. It contains a series of archeological finds from Heraclea dating from the Neolithic Period to the Roman Empire. The first part of the museum shows some remains from the 6th to 3rd century BCE. The second part deals with the Bronze Age. It contains some ceramics and remains from the necropolis in Siris, a city near Heraclea. In the third part, one can find statuettes and coins. There is also a fourth part where there are vases, which belong to the Tomb of Policoro. The final part is dedicated to the people near the Agri and Sinni rivers. This collection comes from the Necropolis of Anglona, Chiaromonte, Tursi, and Aliano. The Museo della Siritide is a good place where everyone could spend a restful day with their family or with a group of friends. Near the museum, there are lots of cheap pubs and restaurants where you can eat and relax.
The most important place of Policoro is Piazza Heraclea where you can find the “Chiesa Madre,” which is the main church of the town. Also in the piazza, there is also the town’s library with a nice, new literary café located below. It has become one of the most popular bars in Policoro. The library opens at 4pm and closes at 7pm. During this time, it is crowded because lots of students go there to do their homework and study with their friends. It is also open in the morning when you can study or read quietly.
Not too far from Policoro, there is Bosco Pantano, a protected nature reserve. A part of it belongs to Oasi WWF. Today on 680 acres, you can see lots of animals like the red kite birds, otters, sea turtles, badgers, European pine martens, and the rosalia longicorn. There are also indigenous trees and shrubs such as oak, evergreen oak, and carob tree. It is only reachable by car.
During the summer, there are some buses originating from the town’s Terminal Bus that go to and from the beach every hour. It is the best way to move around in Policoro, especially for young people. Policoro is connected to other towns by buses and trains. There are many nightclubs and pubs located on Policoro’s lungomare or promenade, the most popular being Club 86, La Playa Beach Club, and Tropicana. They are all very close to each other, so you can go to any to dance or listen to good music. There are also a lot of restaurants along the seaside where you can eat typical Italian food.
- Blues in Town: Organized annually by the cultural association La Mela di Odessa, the summer festival, which was founded in 2004, has had performances by artists such as Neffa, Giuliano Palma, Rocco Papaleo, James Senese, Paolo Belli, and Inibizioni Recidive.
- Policoro in Swing: Organized annually by the cultural association Vintage Routes, the festival has been held every year at the end of August since 2013. It’s an original swing dance camp where music, dancing, sailing, and vacationing combine into a week of fun.
- Balloon—Children’s Cartoon and Literature Festival: It is a summer cultural event that was born in 2012 and has hosted esteemed Italian cartoonists such as Silver (Lupo Alberto), Corrado Mastantuono (Dylan Dog, Tex, and various Disney characters), Giuseppe Palumbo, and Clod.
- Youth Creativity Festival: Organized annually by the Young Democrats of Policoro, the festival was created in 2009 to showcase young artists.
In Policoro, you can do many sports thanks to the different venues located in the town. In fact, there is a small football stadium, Palaercole (basketball and volleyball), and Palaolimpia (fitness and sports center). Near “Padre Minozzi” Church, you can play football, volleyball, tennis, and basketball. There are parks for children where they can play handball. You can also play beach volleyball near the sea and also go cycling to the sea thanks to the bike paths.
On May 25, 1984, the eighth stage of “Giro d’Italia 1984” started from Policoro with the final destination at Agropoli. The winner was Urs Freuler. On May 12, 2003, the third stage of “Giro d’Italia 2003” started from Policoro with the final destination at Terme Luigiane. The winner was Stefano Garzelli. On May 16, 2004, the eighth stage of “Giro d’Italia 2004” finished in Policoro and the winner was Alessandro Petacchi.
Policoro had a football team, Policoro 2000 Calcio, until the 2009 Championships. During the 2009–2010 season, Policoro had two teams, A.S.D. Policoro 2000 and A.S.D. Borussia Pleiade. Since the 2010–2011 season, the two football teams combined into one team, A.S.D Policoro Heraclea. The colors of the team were light blue, white, and red, but then they returned to the original colors of white and light blue. Now, the team is called Real Metapontino and they play in Serie D.
In the 2010–2011 season, the team Avis Borussia Policoro were promoted to Serie B and now they play in Serie A2.
In 2016, Policoro created its first boys’ basketball team, A.S.D. Policoro Basket, for local teenagers. Their home games are played at Palaercole.
TV and Cinema
On April 19, 2017, Policoro was mentioned in a “Too Much Exposition Theatre” sketch starring Alec Baldwin on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as a possible location for a shipwrecked Italian cousin.
The following films were filmed in and around Policoro:
- Berlin Chamissoplatz, directed by Rudolf Thome (1980)
- Libera nos a malo, directed by Fulvio Wetzl (2008)
- Basilicata Coast to Coast, directed by Rocco Papaleo (2010)
- Operazione vacanze, directed by Claudio Fragasso (2012)
Since the people who live in Policoro are a mixture of people who come from the towns near it, it does not have its own particular kinds of food. The dishes, however, are quite similar to the ones of the nearby towns. A certain kind of strawberry grows in Policoro called Candonga, which is sold also in the northern part of Italy.
- Dinu Adameșteanu - archaeologist
- Domenico Ridola - physician, politician and archaeologist
- Domenico Pozzovivo – cyclist
- Gianluca Vizziello – motorcycle racer
- Simone Zaza – footballer
- "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Popolazione Policoro 2001–2015.
- "Breve storia di Policoro". Città di Policoro. Retrieved 21 December 2016.