San Giorgio Lucano
It is not certain whether the town got its name from the cult of St. George which is widespread in the area or from the Albanian hero Giorgio Castriota Scanderberg.
Indeed, the town arose in 1534 and was founded by Albanian immigrants who fled the Muslim occupiers of their homeland and colonized this territory which they initially called Minullo or Minnuglio, probably with reference to its small size. During feudal times , it became part of the Stato di Noia feud, nowadays known as Neopolis. In the early 1600s, Pignatelli, the Prince of Noia, promoted the agricultural colonization of the territory, driving the Albanians out of the San Giorgio hamlet and allowing the peasants from nearby towns to cultivate the land. The official document attesting to the foundation of the town was drawn up in 1607 by the feudal lords and representatives of the settlers. In 1810, San Giorgio became an autonomous town and in 1863 the specification “Lucano” was added to the name of the town in order to distinguish it from the many other Italian towns bearing the same name. During Fascist times, the town was used for the confinement of personalities contrary to the Fascist Party ; the most famous one among them was Camilla Raver.
San Giorgio Lucano may be considered as the threshold to Pollino National Park. Among the various peculiarities characterizing it, the most well-known and most important one is the considerable number of caves significant as regards the landscape and the historic aspect of the area, bearing witness to the inherited peasant culture, which is slowly disappearing.
NOT TO BE MISSED
– The main church, dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi which goes back to the second half of the 17th century. It houses valuable frescoes that have been altered by restoration work over the years.
– Sanctuary of the Pantano Virgin(also known as the Virgin of the Angels). Construction began in 1650 in the vicinity of a cave in the Pantano area where a statue of the “Virgin of the Angels” was found by a group of hunters. As the story goes, the statue had been hidden in that cave by inhabitants of Noia during barbarian invasions. The chapel that was erected in a picturesque position was later enlarged and equipped with new quarters to give hospitality to pilgrims.
– The Chapel of the Virgin of Grace,d ating from 1770 and located in the vicinity of the town, harbours a wooden sculpture of St. George. The chapel is the venue of festivities on the first Sunday in May.
– Various stately homes such as Palazzo Zito (16th century), Palazzo Ripa and Palazzo Silvestri (18th century) and Palazzo La Canna or Rosaneto Farm, formerly belonging to the Carthusian monastery of Chiaromonte, Palazzo Carlomagno from 1826 situated in a side street of Corso Garibaldi (the main street), and Palazzo Cuccaro in Corso Garibaldi erected in the early 1990’s.
– In the archaeological areas at Sodano, Pallio, San Bracato and Campo le Rose, going back to the period of Ancient Greece, utensils and several necropolises have been brought to light.
– Mulino del Sole (Sun Mill) built prior to the 18th century and Fontana “Vecchia” (“Old” fountain).- Caves, noteworthy both from a landscape perspective as well as from a historical one as they are, among other things, testimonials of a peasant culture that is all but disappearing. Approximately 1200 caves – almost as many as the inhabitants of San Giorgio – have been surveyed ; they are all located within the city’s perimeter in the areas of Timpa,Crocicella, Casino,Fontana Vecchia,Calanchi,Selva Vecchia, etc. The caves at Timpa and Crocicella with their valuable wooden entrances and wrought iron ornaments are particularly imposing.
– Peperone Crusco (Crispy peppers)
– Sweet fritters called “Crisp”
– Frizzuli ca’ Milic – a wonderfully tasty pasta dish from the tradition of Lucania, made by using special iron rods to shape the pasta, then topped with a meat sauce and fried fresh bread crumbs.
– Pane Cotto – this is a kind of soup made by frying onions and chilli peppers in olive oil, adding water and cooking it with the addition of eggs. This is then poured over charcoal-grilled slices of bread.
– Patén villut e sfritt – a dish of boiled potatoes that are then fried and seasoned with ground crispy peppers (peperone crusco).
– Pitta liscia.
– Madonna del Pantano Festival: During a solemn procession, the statue of the Virgin Mary is brought into town on Monday and is taken back to the Sanctuary during the first Sunday in May.
– St. Roch’s Day, the patron saint’s feast on August 17th and 18th with a procession in the streets of the town.
– Gioco della Falce (Sickle Game) and the myth of Proserpine
– St. George’s Feast Day on April 23th
– St. Anthony’s Feast Day on June 13th
– Procession dedicated to the Sorrowful Virgin on Good Friday and the Procession of the Sacrament on Corpus Christi Sunda.
Excursions, trekking, nature trails as well as emotional experiences, camping gatherings for Scout groups at “La Catusa”, an area offering a beautiful landscape in natural surroundings in the midst of Pollino National Park. This area is situated in the vicinity of Terranova del Pollino although it belongs to the town of San Giorgio Lucano.
Natural heritage: località “La Catusa”
Religious heritage: Santuario Maria SS delgi Angeli (Sanctuary of Holy Mary of the Angels) at Contrada Pantano
Culture and environment: ”The caves”
3 OFFERS YOU CAN’T PASS UP
– LA CATUSA: in spring and summer
– CAVES: all the year
– SANTUARIO Maria SS degli Angeli (Sanctuary of Holy Mary of the Angels) at Pantano in August
Dr. Giuseppe A.D. ESPOSITO: 3662032445
Town Hall of San Giorgio Lucano: 0835846032
Civil Defence – Egidio LACANNA: Egidio LACANNA: 3894946242
Pro loco Tourist Office – Mariagiovanna DONADIO: 3277129281