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People of Castelmezzano - "masciaioli"groups -

Locality "bosco di Caperrino" Agro di Castelmezzano; "Marriage of nature, between sacred and profane, where the present mixes with the past, where men stand up to heaven to face his God among the arcane and timeless voices of ancient people, a trunk and a top,to renew the ancient ritual of generations in a blend of time, nature, and life. " The ritual of "maggio" is repeated, among the best known, in the town of Accettura and in the town of Pietrapertosa.



Thematic areas Demoethnoantropological (traditions,rituals)
Cultural interest evaluation The ritual of "Maggio " has origins that are lost in the history of the town of Castelmezzano. This celebration is dedicated to Sant'Antonio da Padova and represents a propitiatory ritual of good luck for harvest and fertility. It represents a moment of conviviality and sharing of the community, in which the skills and technical skills developed and transmitted by the masters of the ax (c.d. mascaioli) are enhanced.
The event takes place in two moments: on the 7th of september  (or the sunday preceding the week of the 12th and 13th of September), the people of Castelmezzano leave  the town early  to the search, in the woods of the mountain of Caperrino,the tallest and most beautiful turkey oak to donate as a “husband”to the top of a holly. After the "choice" of the trees, as every “wedding”, all the  participants of the event gather in a long banquet.
The proposed menu has the best  dishes of the culinary tradition of the place. Among the many, the famous "pastorale", lamb meat  immersed in a vegetable and potato broth that begins cooking from the early hours of the morning. Local taralli, "crostol" (typical desserts of the place that symbolize union and abundance) and local wine keep  the convivials together in an idyll that sees an ancestral   union of men and the earth. The banquet is cheered up  by music played by young people and adults (here there is also a wonderful encounter between the strength of experience and the liveliness of youth) on the keys of ancient organetto.
The newly begun ritual awakens a positive sense of belonging in the participants, as well as a greater awareness of their origins, of history ,language,architectural structures and culinary art.In the second phase on the 12th of September , the day of the eve, the trunk is transported from the woods to the village by couples of oxes called "parecch", while the top of the tree  is dragged on shoulders by young devotees who are recharged of energy thanks to some glass of wine. After the smoothing  and grafting, the trees are erected with the blessing of St. Anthony, carried in the procession; So their “wedding” is celebrated. During the itinerary re given a series of treats related to the culinary tradition of Castelmezzano (taralli with sugar, tarallucci with fennel, croutons)are given to the participants.
Context The whole community, in particular the one responsible for agriculture,pastoralism and the cultivation of the woods, is an active part of the "Maggio" ritual.
The nearby town of Pietrapertosa collaborates with its oxen and its traditions.
Description of the managment mode LThe transmission of the traditions between generation has always been oral; It is said that the most popular use was to bring a huge tree to the country  and then adorn it with fruits  animals and plants, to thank the divinities  but also as an action based on the concept of "Magia Simpatica" very popular for the farmers that said that"the similar produces the similar": The way the fruits and foods were displayed was a way to propitiate fertility and abundance.
Among these ancient traditions, which  certainly come from the northern Celtic area, where the arboreal culture was very popular , we  also find the Roman tradition of the"Floralia", which were held in May, when, after singing and dancing, abundance was asked for with orgiastic rituals, still used in 1500 England.
Re proposing the event is the best way to transmit the knowledge to the new generations. Today the ritual is entrusted to the young masciaioli who, following the directions of the old woodcutters and shepherds,follow the tradition by updating it and making it alive from year to year.
Significant features Affirmation of culture, traditions, legends of the community of Castelmezzano. Affirmation of rituals that develop between the sacred and the profane, enabling a closer approach to religion because the ritual is dedicated to St. Antonio da Padova.
Rediscovering the environment and natural essences of the place with the  harmony between men and nature. The discovery of not typical domestic animals - the oxen and the horses - that in a harmonious  picture live the ritual of”maggio”as the main characters.
Bibliography Rivista mensile Vero
Trasmissione televisiva Sereno Variabile

Quotidiani: Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, il Quotidiano, la Nuova Basilicata; riviste: "Al Parco", "Arcobaleno" (a cura dei comitati UNPLI di Basilicata e Puglia), servizi radiofonici/televisivi :TGR Basilicata, TRM Televisione Radio del Mezzogiorno, Radio Potenza centrale.
L'evento viene pubblicizzato sul sito www. oltre sul sito del Volo dell'Angelo; viene comunicato a mezzo e-mail a oltre 20.000 contatti in Basilicata, Puglia e Campania.

Safeguard plan proposed

Community Participation
The event represents a synthesis of the oldest local history in which visitors can:
1. rediscover the 'taste' of the dishes of our farmers;
2. rediscover the pleasure of the conviviality and the pure sharing of food;
3. rediscover old dances (tarantella), old melodies that on the notes of ancient organs that invade the woods.
The initiative involves the whole town, a strong union, an important talk for community growth, eager to preserve the ancient flavors of life and at the same time offer itself to share the beauty of an untouched nature, a lonely neighborhood , rich in sublime silence, with suggestive scenery, in  always a welcoming atmosphere. A precious heritage, which doesn’t forget its origins


Where to eat

Restaurants at the hotel

Bar Ristorante Hotel Dolomiti
Via Michele Volini, 7
85010 - Castelmezzano (PZ)
Tel.: 0971 986089 - Fax: 0971 986089
Cell.: 347 0321817
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Az. Agr. Grotta dell'Eremita
C.da Calcescia, 1
85010 - Castelmezzano (PZ)
Tel.: 0971 986314 - Fax: 0971 986030
Cell.: 335 6874845
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sito internet:

Az. Agr. Il Molino della Contessa
C.da Fiumara - Fiumara
85010 - Castelmezzano (PZ)
Tel.: 0971 986099 - Fax: 0971 986099
Cell.: 338 2969732
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sito internet:


Fonte: APT Basilicata

Published in Itinerari