Oliveto Lucano, Province of Matera, Basilicata
Provinces of Basilicata
Other Italian Regions
- Altitude: 546 m a.s.l
- Population: about 470 inhabitants in 2012
- Zip/postal code: 75010
- Phone Area Code: 0835
- Demonym: olivetesi
- Patron Saint: san Cipriano, celebrated on 12 August
- Distance from Matera: 66 km.
- Location on Map.
- Surnames presently recorded in Oliveto Lucano.
History - Antiquity
In the 4th century BC Croccia-Cognato allied with the other cities of the mountains (Satrianum, Torretta di Pietragalla, Civita di Tricarico, Anzi) against the Greek colonies, creating strong defenses for their settlements. It is likely that on the highest point of the Oliveto Lucano there was a tower, where today the Cathedral is located.
History - the Middle Ages
The first mention of Oliveto Lucano is in some bulls of 1060, 1070 and 1183. In 1150 it was the fief of a certain Marellano, followed in the early 14th century by a Bossati. Charles I of Anjou granted Oliveto Lucano, with Pietrapertosa, to Guglielmo Grappino. In 1382 his descendant Antonio joined a rebellion against the king and lost the feud, but the family must have regained their title later, since in 1400 the lord was Giozzolino Grappino. His granddaughter Violante married Ferrante Diazgarlon, Count of Alife bringing in dowry Oliveto Lucano and Pietrapertosa.
History - from the Renaissance onwards
According to the Numerazioni, the 70 families in 1545 had shrunk to just 34 at the end of the century. In 1669, the families were 58 (over 300 people). At the end of the 18th century the inhabitants were about 700. With the unification of Italy, the poor backward economy of Oliveto Lucano worsened, and emigration reduced the already small community. In the 1960s a second emigration began, with a 33% population decline, which left at Oliveto Lucano only those involved in the traditional activities of agriculture and sheep raising.
What to see
- The parish Church of Maria Santissima delle Grazie (Our Lady of Grace), at the top of the village, in the Romanesque style with three naves, which contains three bronze altars and a painting representing the Immaculate Conception.
- The Portoni di Bacco (=doors of Bacchus), typical wooden doors of wineries along the Via delle Grotte, built by local craftsmen in the late 19th and early 20th century.
- The archaeological site of Monte Croccia, with the ruins of an ancient Lucan town of the 6th-4th centuries BC.