Rites and legends
Through some of the most suggestive rites and legends of the Basilicata region, Borgo San Gaetano brings you towards discovering the true soul of the Lucania territory. Local events follow rituals dictated by the calendar, revealing aspects and peculiarities that can only be found in this land of charm and memories. You are invited to be protagonists of celebrations and ancestral feasts, experiencing stories passed down from generation to generation.
The mysterious protagonists of this rite circulate among the alleyways of the town center wearing dark cloaks, old hats, and a fake hemp beards. They carry a big needle with which they threaten to sew the mouths ("cuci bocca") of the children who approach them intrigued. This mysterious rite is repeated every year at the end of the Christmas festivities and is a sort of initiation for children towards helping them win over their fears.
After a long preparation, the highest, biggest, and straightest turkey oak - called the “Maggio” - from the Montepiano woods is chosen, and a week later the top of a holly tree called the “Cima” from another forest. The Maggio is cut down first and, after 8 days, it begins its journey. The Cima is then cut, and at the end, the parts of these two different trees are joined together, or “married” in the heart of Accettura, where they are then raised and climbed up by teams of men called the "Maggiaioli”.
The role players of the historical parade, in period costumes, bring back to life from time immemorial the legendary event dating back to 1111, when a miracle by St. Gerard allowed the inhabitants of Potenza to repel the attack of the Turks.
This feast, in honor of the protector of the city of Matera, takes place in a rather suggestive manner. During the procession, the spirit of the people is exalted in mass jubilation and the cart that accompanies the statue of the Madonna, created by artisans over many months, is assaulted and destroyed.
In a superstitious rather than a derogatory manner, Colobraro is called “that town”. This is presumably due to the fact that the word "Colobraro" is considered unmentionable because of the superstitious belief that even by just merely enunciating the name brings misfortune. Based on these beliefs, "The dream of a night... in that town" event was created. A theatralized itinerary held among the streets and characteristic squares of the town center that dominates the Sinni valley, where anthropology marries theater, magic, and food and wine, tying itself to the charm of a unique landscape.
Among the splendid scenery of the Sassi, the live Nativity scene of Matera allows you to become an integral part of the itinerary. In fact, every visitor has the opportunity to become a “visiting-actor” and become one of the role players.
One of the most exciting feasts of the Basilicata region is the Patron Saint’s Day of Bernalda. United by the devotion to the patron saint, the devotees begin festivities among religious observances, historical reenactments, and entertainment.
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The castle of Lagopesole, a place that calls to mind Frederick II par excellence, welcomes visitors and leads them into the world of this Emperor. The narrative museum, through modern technologies and innovative languages combined with historical research, aims at reviving the legend of the Stupor Mundi - the “Marvel of the World”, used to describe Fredrick II.