This is a partial list of local festivals, fairs and costumed events. To verify the exact dates, please contact the local tourist board.
In most of southern Italy, the town festival is a fundamental event in the life of all residents. If they have emigrated abroad, they try to come home. If they never left, they plan all year for the events, most of which stem from pre-Christian rituals.
In Basilicata, two characteristic events held in many small towns are the May Chopping Festival (Sagra del “Maggio”), in which the entire village watches as a large tree is chopped down in the forest, dragged into the main square and “married” to a younger tree; and the Procession of the Turks (Sfilata dei Turchi), in which the townspeople re-enact a historical night in May when a band of Saracens were vanquished from Potenza with the help of an army of angels.
Pignola: Palio of S. Antonio Abate.
Villa d’Agri: Befana Canterina.
Rotondella: Fire Festival.
Rocchetta al Volturno, Carpinone, Capracotta: Maitinate Carolers.
Rapolla: San Biagio.
Cercepiccola: The Mesi Pageant.
Tufara: The Cheese Game & Devil’s Procession.
Castelnuovo del Volturno: Deer Hunt Pageant.
Atella: Via Crucis Costumed Parade (Thursday before Easter).
Barile, Maschito & Venosa: Via Crucis Pageant (Good Friday).
Rionero in Vulture: Via Crucis Pageant (Saturday before Easter).
Garagusa: Costumed Procession.
Termoli: Good Friday Procession.
Campobasso: Corpus Domini Pageant.
San Martino in Pensilis: Ox-Cart race.
Melfi: Feast & Tournament of the Holy Spirit.
Potenza: San Gerardo (May).
Matera-Picciano: Santa Maria di Picciano (first Sunday of May).
Policoro: Madonna of the Bridge.
Tricarico: Madonna of the Fountains (second Sunday of May).
Accettura: May Chopping Festival.
Larino: San Pardo Festival & Procession.
Ururi: The Cart Race.
Moliterno: U Casiadd Local Cheese Festival.
Rotonda: Sant’Antonio & Fir Tree Festival.
Gorgoglione: Madonna of Pergamo.
S. Giorgio Lucano: Harvest Festival.
Avigliano: Madonna of Carmine.
Matera: Madonna of Bruna Pageant & Procession.
Ielsi: Wheat Festival Pageant & Parade.
Castellagopesole: Nights of Frederick II of Swabia.
Melfi: Homage to Frederick II of Swabia.
Rapone: Sausage & Cheese Festival.
Bernalda: San Bernardo.
Oliveto Lucano: San Cipriano & the Rites of May.
Pisticci: San Rocco.
Termoli: San Basso Fishing Boat Procession.
Ripalimosani: Palio Horse Race.
Ripacandida: Vulture Rabbit & Garlic Festival.
Viggiano: Santa Maria of the Sacred Mountain.
Sarconi: Bean Festival & Market of Local Products.
Aliano: Madonna of the Stars.
Matera-Timmari: Feast of God the Savior (first Sunday of September).
Miglionico: Dried Fig Festival.
Melfi: Varola Festival & Market.
Riccia: Grape Fair.
Paterno: Nativity Scene.
Montescaglioso: Pettole Festival.
Agnone: Docce Torchlit Procession.
Oratino: La Faglia Torch Lighting (Christmas Eve).
Guardialfiera: Living Nativity Scene.
Where to stay in Matera
Hotels, apartments, B&Bs and villas can be searched and reserved here.