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Potenza (PZ)-Stemma.png
Comune di Potenza
Region Basilicata
Province Potenza (PZ)
Altitude 819
Area cityproper 174
Population as of December 31, 2004
Population density 69,295
Population density metric 401
Timezone CET, UTC+1
Telephone 0971
Postalcode 85100
Gentilic Potentini
Saint St. Gerard
Day May 30
Mayor Vito Santarsiero
Website www.comune.potenza.it]

Potenza is a town and comune in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata (former Lucania). It is the capital of the Potenza province and the Basilicata region.

The city is one of the highest capitals of province in Italy, commanding the valley of the Basento river, on the Apennines of Lucania, east of Salerno. Its territory is bounded by the comuni of Anzi, Avigliano, Brindisi Montagna, Picerno, Pietragalla, Pignola, Ruoti, Tito, Vaglio Basilicata.


Ancient times

According to Strabo and Pliny the Elder, Potentia was one of the most ancient free cities of Lucania. The first settlement was probably located on a lower site than now, some 10 km south of today's Potenza.

The Lucani of Potenza sided against Rome's enemies during the latter's wars against the Samnites and the Bruttii. Subjected in the course of the 4th century BC (gaining later the status of municipium), the Potentini rebelled after the Roman defeat at Cannae (216 BC). However, the Battle of Metauro marked the end of any Carthaginian hope in Italy, and Potentia was reconquered by the Romans and reduced to the mere status of military colony.

Middle Ages

In the 6th century the city passed to the Lombard Duchy of Benevento. It later suffered various Saracen ravages before the Norman conquest of the whole of Southern Italy. In the 12th century Potenza was an important bishopric seat. In 1137 the city hosted Pope Innocent II and Emperor Lothair II during their failing attempt at conquest of the Norman kingdom. In 1148 or 1149 Roger II of Sicily hosted here king Louis VII of France, whom the Norman fleet had freed from the Saracens. After having been ravaged by Emperor Frederick II, the city subsequently remained loyal to the Hohenstaufen: in this way it was almost totally destroyed by Charles I when the Angevin lord conquered the Kingdom of Sicily. On December 18, 1273, an earthquake added further destruction.

Modern age

In the following years the city lived no relevant events, and was under various feudal owners. Potenza was site of riots against the Spanish domination, but in 1694 it was almost wholly destroyed by another earthquake.

With the declaration of the Neapolitan Republic (1799), Potenza was one of the first cities to rebel against the king. After the momentary Bourbon repression, the city was conquered by the French army in 1806, and declared capital of Basilicata. King Joachim Murat improved the city's conditions and administration, and some urban improvements were introduced for the visit of Ferdinand II in 1846. A revolt broke out in 1848, again suppressed by the Bourbon weapons, and a third devastating earthquake followed in 1857. Potenza rebelled for the last time in 1860, in time for the unification of Italy brought by Garibaldi's revolutionary army.

In September 1943 the city suffered heavy Allied bombings. In 1980, another earthquake hit Potenza strongly


Potenza is a rail junction on the main line from Salerno to Taranto.

External links

Regional Capitals of Italy
L'Aquila (Abruzzo)Template:· Aosta (Aosta Valley)Template:· Bari(Apulia)Template:· Potenza (Basilicata)Template:· Catanzaro (Calabria)Template:· Naples (Campania)Template:· Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Trieste (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)Template:· Rome (Lazio)Template:· Genoa (Liguria)Template:· Milan (Lombardy)Template:· Ancona (Marche)Template:· Campobasso (Molise)Template:· Turin (Piedmont)
Cagliari (Sardinia)Template:· Palermo (Sicily)Template:· Trento (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol)Template:· Florence (Tuscany)Template:· Perugia (Umbria)Template:· Venice (Veneto)

Regions of Italy
AbruzzoAosta ValleyApuliaBasilicataCalabriaCampaniaEmilia-RomagnaFriuli-Venezia GiuliaLazioLiguriaLombardyMarcheMolisePiedmontSardiniaSicilyTrentino-South TyrolTuscanyUmbriaVeneto