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Comune di Pomarico
Pomarico is located in Italy
Location of Pomarico in Italy
Coordinates: 40°31′N 16°33′E / 40.517°N 16.550°E / 40.517; 16.550Coordinates: 40°31′N 16°33′E / 40.517°N 16.550°E / 40.517; 16.550
Country Italy
Region Basilicata
Province / Metropolitan city Province of Matera (MT)
 • Total 128 km2 (49 sq mi)
Elevation 459 m (1,506 ft)
 • Total 4,451
 • Density 35/km2 (90/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Pomaricani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 75016
Dialing code 0835
Patron saint San Michele Arcangelo
Saint day 8 maggio
Website Official website

Pomarico (Greek: Pomerikon) is a small town of 4500 inhabitants in Southern Italy, in the region Basilicata. It is about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Matera, the capital of the province to which Pomarico belongs.


The town was founded about 850 AD by Greeks. An old castle was built but only few ruins of it remain.

Pomarico Vecchio. –The original settlement was located 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) south of the city of New Pomarico (Matera).

It occupied the plateau of a small mountain or hill, then known as San Giacomo (St James).

The natives or indigenous people of the area formed a settlement on this plateau. Archeologists date the settlement back to the second half of the 6th century BC,

The settlement saw its greatest development between the 3rd and 4th B.C. The settlement area consisted of a pear-shaped space of 330 sq meters or approximately 3,500 sq ft. The area was surrounded by a boundary wall, built in the 4th century BC. The wall had double facing slabs of sandstone with square towers, which stood separately. These towers are now partially collapsed This isolated or separated hill, allowed complete visibility of the surrounding valleys.

From an antiquity or historical point of view, this settlement shows the characteristics of a village center, allowing easy access into the interior. In the 4th Century AD, the indigenous elements of the settlement were converted to a complete Greco-Roman architectural settlement which today is noticeable by the organization of the plateau area and the characteristics of the materials found.

The archeological findings from excavations confirmed the many discoveries made in the burial grounds site in the settlement area, which defines the settlement as Greco-Roman. However, the finds of the excavations are preserved primarily in museums of Matera, Potenza and Metaponto, and cannot be attributed with certainty to the area of Pomarico Vecchio or to the now urban area of New Pomarico

However, it is certain that New Pomerico, is the site of a second native/indigenous village. because of advanced architectural facilities found. Pottery found are numerous red-figure vases from the Apulian school of vase painting. These red figured vases which date back to the 4th Century BC, are attributed to the famous Apulian vase painter, Darius Painter and to his successor, Painter of the Underworld.

Systematic excavations, starting in 1976, initially focused on the walls and a burial grounds situated on the southern side of Pomerico Vecchio. Evidence of a human presence come from the typical ceramic discovery of this period, in particular fragments of ancient Grecian cups and certain vase fragments with banded decoration.

Linguistics (language) of this first settlement is unknown, given the limited size of any historical writings. It was not possible to get to a certain level of definition of the events of the ancient town, from the 4th to the 3rd century, BC. Also, during the same period there was a lively development in many other indigenous towns of Basilicata comparable to Pomerico Vecchio and generally known because of the burial grounds and boundary walls. In the 4th Century AD, the southern portion of the town (the part that was excavated beginning in 1976 was completely structured, or perhaps restored, following the typical architecture of the Roman-Greco cities. This theory is based on a regular succession of parallel streets with right angles, that generate isolated narrow and elongated streets/roads.. At the end of the 1993 excavation, it was possible to identify six blocks divided by parallel streets/roads.

The most significant discovery and in any case established by the evidence of an designed urban plan. This at least suggests the constant positioning of the various buildings and structures, the commonality of the buildings and structures, and the uniformity of size of streets and blocks.

It seems reasonable to assume a significant public intervention and the existence of a important authority(s), which ensured the realization of the planned reduction of the plateau, and allow the areas outside the city walls to grow. In theory, this urban growth allowed a small scattered development of farms, which coincides with some findings in the neighboring localities

Pomerico Vecchio – Page 2

The most significant number of findings dating back to 3rd and 4th century. B.C. consists of ceramic fragments. These fragments represent both small and large cups, two handled Athenian or Corinthian wine cups, and some closed shape, such as pelikai (two handled wine or oil jars), askoi (wine or oil jar with spout) and remnants of medicinal ointment. These ointments are similar or comparable with other known ointments found in Basilicata, These ointments conforms to the organic structure and technical trends of the medicinal salve/balms found in Grecian cities along the coast. This is also true of the various pottery found.

The large number of loom weights found also attests to the spread of weaving in the area. There are signs of religious adoration, which are defined by terra cotta figurine fragments that were found, These fragments are similar to those of the neighboring Greek cities, These fragments are evident that there were cults connected to the underworld, reflected by recumbent figures, satyrs, and big female busts.

Significant data is offered by the excavations on the eastern cliffs of the hill of Pomarico Vecchio which have highlighted fifteen tombs in earth graves, covered with sandstone slabs. The tombs or burial chambers are made of materials similarly found in Grecian antiquity sites. However, These tombs show a continuation of the types of tombs found in Italy, with a crouching position of the skeletons, which is a local tradition.

Miracle of Saint Michael in Pomarico in 1753

In a period characterized by rainstorms, landslides and famine occurred the Miracle of the Wheat. 1753 was a year really fatal: 368 people died; well among them were 12 Priests, Sisters and Brothers of the Convent. Legend has it that ... swarms of locusts destroyed any agricultural product, the wells were practically dried up. Even fertile areas of Pomarico as Trincinaro, St. James and St. Lawrence for several years did not give the result of the hard work of the men. It was since 1680 that the country was suffering. There was a terrible famine to the wheat crop. In May of 1753 it is said that an Apulian trader had come to the Colle Sisto. Not knowing the country, he went to Pomarico going down a cattle track with fruit trees and oaks on either side. H was well vested, respectful and good-hearted. During his trip he awoke the curiosity of the Pomaricans he met on the street. He stopped by the local monastery to rest. Then he went into the Piazza Nuova (now Piazza V. Veneto) and it was there that he announced to the community he had come to town to deliver grain. The news went around the neighborhoods and districts, and all rushed there by any means available. The Pomaricans who arrived at Colle Sisto were astonished to see such an amount of wheat. There were at least 8 horse-drawn wagons filled with sacks of grain. People were hungry and there was no time to organize for the grain distribution so everyone tried to take what they could through shoving. In the general crush the people were fighting for a handful of grain. From that moment, in that humanly understandable act, was given the name "The Fight" so that the faithful, when they meet for the procession this year on 8 May evening (which that year became the feast day of the Patron Saint ) go to honor one of the most important miracles of San Michele Arcangelo in Pomarico. After the FIGHT, subsided in part by gendarmes and the monks, there remained one towering load of grain which, together with the priests and the people, was escorted to the Mother Church in the churchyard where the bags were arranged in heaps and distributed to poor people who were not able to go or had not arrived in time. The Pomaricano after the fight and successful distribution of the remaining grain which happened in the churchyard of the Old Church met in the evening with the merchant. He told them that a few days before a good-looking gentleman was presented to him under the name of "Michael Pomarico" and he ordered the wheat be taken to a country town that was on a hill called Pomarico. Michele pledged his ring set with a diamond stone. The dealer, together with the authorities, went in Piazza V. Veneto, the new square of Pomarico, with its shops and its wineries, looking for some Michael who fit the description. When no-one did , at the suggestion of a villager, he decided to go to the mother church. The seller, looking at the statue of the Archangel Michael donated to the people of Pomarico by Francesco del Balzo, (now housed in the glass case at the entrance of the Mother Church) he recognized the face of the ring owner. Then everyone realized that the Holy finger was missing the ring with the diamond in it, donated by the magnificent Porfida Giannulli on May 3, 1713, which the statue of the saint is still wearing in the morning procession of 8 May. The merchant and the population suddenly realized and shouted to the miracle. The seller, then, excited and stunned put the ring on the Saints finger waiving fees agreed with St. Michael the Archangel. There was general commotion culminating in joyful applause. The small town, where life flowed calm and sleepy, was reanimated. For a week the streets and the alleys were crossed by people coming and going, their faces showing the signs of a joy never experienced before. All spoke of the miracle and felt proud to witness an extraordinary event. Since that year, the Patron Saint became more and more honored.

Main sights[edit]

  • The Marquess Palace, built in the 18th century, and still standing in the centre of the town.
  • The Main Church dedicated to St. Michael, also built in that period. It has a baroque façade and contains a beautiful wooden statue of St. Michael (1400), as well as paintings of Pietro Antonio Ferro and Andrea Vaccaro.
  • The church of St. Anthony of Padua (18th century). It lies by a former convent, that was transformed into the City Hall.

Notable people[edit]

The most known citizens of Pomarico were Niccolò Fiorentino (lawyer and patriot during the Neapolitan Revolution, 1799) and Francesco Caggiani (awarded with a gold medal during the World War I).

The elementary school in the city is named in honor of Caggiani.

Franco Selvaggi, member of the 1982 Italy side that won the World Cup, was from Pomarico. Giuseppe Gargano, immigrant to New York returned and donated first ambulance for the city.

Antonio Bonavista (1967–2011) was a brilliant Art teacher, a fervent Historian, an experienced Politician. An enthusiastic scholar of Antonio Vivaldi (an Italian Baroque composer), he discovered Pomarican origins of the composer's mother, Camilla Calicchio, who was from Pomarico.

External links[edit]