Potenza is located in the Basilicata region in southern Italy. The city is one of the highest regional capitals in Italy and overlooks the Basento valley. During the time of the Romans, Potenza had taken the side of the enemies of Rome during the wars against the Bruttii. However in 216 BC the Romans had again acquired Potenza and had used it as a military camp.
The city is spread out over an area of 173 sq. km with the population of approximately 68,000. Over the years Potenza has suffered destruction through the bombings of World War II as well as many earthquakes.
Getting to Potenza
Potenza being located at a high altitude, the transportation system here is limited. The train station only has a few trains coming in every day from the nearby provinces and regions. There are buses that reach Potenza from the smaller towns in the province as well as cities from the Basilicata region and these buses are fairly comfortable. Getting tickets is not very stressful since there are many buses each day that depart for Potenza. The easiest way to reach Potenza is by road through car since the routes are very scenic and are quite enjoyable.
Moving around the city
Potenza can be explored on foot since most attractions are limited to the center of the town which is very compact. The roads here are quite picturesque so walking around is very enjoyable. The public buses here can be used for reaching the sections of the town that are far from the center of the city. Those with their own cars would find it easier to just explore the city in their cars. Visitors can also rent scooters in Potenza or bicycles during their stay in the city since these are not very expensive.
Attractions in Potenza
Duomo of San Gerardo
The Duomo of San Gerardo is the most important religious place in the city. The cathedral had been originally built in the 12th century but had to be renovated in the 18th century quite heavily. From the original structure the beautiful rose window and the apse still remain and these are the most noteworthy aspects of the cathedral. The interiors are quite beautifully decorated.
Church of San Francesco
The church of San Francesco dates back to the 13th century. The church is mainly worth a visit due to its beautiful interiors. The bell tower and the portal were added later in the 15th century to the church. Inside the church is a beautiful Madonna done in the Byzantine style and De Grasis Sepulchre, both dating back to the 13th century. Although, not as important as the cathedral the church is still worth visiting.
The Torre Guevara is the only remaining tower from the ancient castle that used to stand in the location. The other towers and the castle itself had been completely destroyed long back. The architecture of the tower is quite noteworthy. Today the tower is mainly used for various art exhibits and shows.
The palazzo Loffredo was built as the noble residence in the 17th century. The palace is quite intimidating in size and has been beautifully restored. The interiors are just as beautiful with careful attention to detail. The palace is now used to house the national archeological museum of Potenza.
Ancient City Gates
The city once used to be surrounded by ancient walls that were built for protecting it against invaders centuries ago. The walls have been destroyed long back but the three gates that were a part of the walls still exist. These gates used to be the point of entry for entering the city. The gates are Porta S. Luca, Porta S. Giovanni and Porta S. Gerardo.
Church of San Michele
The church of San Michele is believed to have been made in the 11th or 12th centuries. The church is built in the Romanesque style and has been fairly restored and renovated over the years.
Potenza has the ruins of an old Roman villa that was believed to be a residence during the Roman era in the city. The ruins are open to visitors for exploration and are located in the Poggio Tre Galli part of the city.
Stay and Accommodation
Potenza has a good number of hotels and Bed & Breakfasts, most of which are of good quality and are fairly reasonable. Most hotels are located around the center of the town, but these would be comparatively costlier that the ones situated a little further away. There are also many Bed & Breakfasts to choose from and getting a room is not difficult since most hotels do not get completely sold out. The hotels in the city worth considering are hotel Vittoria, Park hotel, La Primula, Galgano, Grand Albergo and Albergo Miramonti.
Eating Out in Potenza
The restaurants in Potenza serve fairly simple food and are quite rustic. Most restaurants in the city serve Italian food and regional specialties. However, there are a handful of restaurants that serve international cuisines. As in all other cities in Italy, there are plenty of good pizzerias that serve freshly made delicious pizzas and are perfect for any time of the day. There are also quite a lot of restaurants in town serving European and Mediterranean dishes. Some good restaurants in the city are Ristorante II Grifo, La Dimora Dei Cavaliere, Ristorante Al Nord and Pantagruel.
Shopping in Potenza
Potenza has quite a lot of good places to shop. The old quarter of the city has some interesting shops that are small but have some authentic locally made merchandise. Almost everywhere in the city visitors would find traditional pottery and vases which are quite beautiful and are perfect for taking back home. There are a few places that sell locally made woolen and silk clothes as well as beautiful cashmere sweaters. The local open markets are also very interesting to visit even for those who do not want to purchase anything.