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The idea of ​​development adopted with the project "La festa dell" Ndenna ", ensures that in the long term, satisfactory tourism and cultural goals are achieved. In fact, among the aims set by the Municipality of Castelsaraceno and the Pro Loco Association, there is the one to create in our mountain areas a cultural and respectful tourism in reguards of the natural and artistic enviroment but also of the knowledge of the everyday life of a hidden Italy ,creating exchanges of cultures and experiences among citizans and people from the province,evaluatìng the role that the areas far from the economic centres can have in italian life. The result wished is to make our territory known( for example Parco Nazionale del Pollino, Parco Nazionale dell'Appennino Lucano e la Regione Basilicata) under many profiles: ANTROPOLOGICAL-CULTURAL, ENVIRONMENTAL-NATURAL AND CULINARY and for it to be appreciated by a growing number of visitors as well as researchers of popular traditions.
A good tourism offer has to respond to a demand like this .It will have to come from the local population, which will have to become an active part of the event by offering the elements that demand requires: typical products, accommodations, hospitality and all the most characteristic features of the territory. If all this will be done with the engagement of the Institution and of the  local population, this event could become one of the most important tourism attractions  of the entire area of ​​the Apennines of Basilicata - Val d'Agri - Lagonegrese – Pollino.

The arboreal ritual  of the Ndenna takes place in a territory belonging to two national parks: the Pollino Park and the Parco dell'Appennino Lucano Val d'Agri Lagonegrese.
This ritual is linked to the various arboreal rituals still present in Basilicata in the following towns: Castelmezzano, Garaguso, Accettura, Pietrapertosa, Gorgoglione(with the use of the oak and holly )and Rotonda, Viggianello, Terranova del Pollino( with the use of the beech tree). These rituals are very old but almost completely unknown by the near towns. The ritual is symbolic and reveals a sexual symbolism: the feminine element (the Cunocchia) is firmly fixed to the male (Ndenna) with an iron ring with tightly screwed bolts. This union symbolizes a sexual act, a symbol of perpetuation of life, a fundamental event for the agricultural and pastoral economy. Sexual symbolism can also be observed during the preparation of the two elements: the partcicipation of the  'Ndenna  is more careful and the atmosphere is more solemn;the preparation for the Cunocchia  is less effortful and more cheerful . Even the entry into the country accentuates the difference: the Cunocchia walks in the streets almost with a  flattery attitude, typically feminine, while 'Ndenna enters the town and heads  towards the square to wait for the lady.




Thematic areas Demoethnoantropological (traditions,rituals)
Cultural interest evaluation The arboreal ritual of the Ndenna lives thanks to its strong radication in the local population
Context The opportunities for enhancement of the area are associated with the main functions and activities already present which are intended to be valorised for the purpose of the stable improvement of the quality of life as well as the development of the environmental and economic resources present .
The territorial production system is characterized by small and medium-sized enterprises, with some bigger realities. Within the more consolidated and competitive businesses, production stages have been developed with higher added value, which have partly stopped the development of innovative activities outside the companies.
Agriculture is still one of the most important economic activities of the area, the cultivation of cereals and forage crops and livestock breeding. There is, however, a passivity of the operators reguarding the use of new productive and sustainable strategies and the integration with the tourism activity, which is accompanied by problems related to the generational replacement.
The associationism, visible on the internal and external market, the creation of a recognizable controlled brand, have not been the priority lines followed by the farmers in recent years. The rural landscape, lifestyle and traditions can become, if appropriately valued, interesting attractive  factors, for visits, courses, stays and tourism itineraries.
The touristic resources of the area (eg cycling paths, walking itineraries, horseriding), are not known by the other towns. In fact a tourism product, consisting of a variety of services (transport, visiting opportunities, catering, overnight stays, leisure, cultural proposals), with the collaboration of the municipality and the nearby centers is missing. Also ,there are no proposals that stimulate a overnight or day stay,and also the  organization of transport inside the area is missing.
With this territorial context, it will be necessary to develop tourism outside the area, to link local proposals with other near towns  and, above all, to present tourism development proposals that will be particularly linked with environmental enhancement projects and with the  regional culture. The analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks, therefore, illustrates the problems, the strategic competences and the resources in the area of ​​Basilicata- Val d'Agri Apennine - Lagonegrese - Pollino.
Description of the managment mode One of the bases of the project is the valorisation of local energies and resources, through a radical, profound and continuous promotion and training activity. We are convinced that the development of an area cannot be done only with infrastructural interventions; the development is an organic growth of the community as a whole and in its various aspects: economic, social and cultural. This means that suitable and effective cultural tools have to be found to bring a change.
In this context, the initiative of "La festa dell" Ndenna ", considered as the main event of the entire  territory, is inserted. The attachment to its roots and traditions, on a journey to rediscover and recover the historical, artistic and ethno-anthropological heritage, becomes the most important aspects of our work, convinced that such a manifestation can be a useful marketing tool to know our territory and our municipality as well as a useful way to rediscover our cultural identity among the young generations. It all revolves around the arboreal ritual of Ndenna, celebrated for centuries, which continues to be a great instrument of territorial animation; it is a tourism development project linked precisely to the valorisation, promotion and management of our heritage.Given that the territory expresses an infinity of tacit knowledge and values, a competent global tourism product is trying to be organized by the municipality.which would be an essential prerequisite to increase the tourism offer of the territory .
Significant features The arboreal ritual of the Ndenna takes place on the first three Sundays of June every year.
On the first Sunday there is the celebration of the 'Ndenna', with a great ammount of people, which come  not only from Castelsaraceno, but also from the near towns. After the celebration of the Mass in the morning,people meet in the square of S. Antonio and with various mechanical tools,  head to the forest of Favino, on Mount Alpi. In the woods they look for the most straight and good looking beech tree.
Once the tree is identified, all the people approach it and cut it  with a saw "struncaturo" (once the ax was used.)
In the early afternoon, the journey towards the town begins; First, the proffices, the small trees that will be used for the elevating, will enter; After the Ndenna, is transported ,it makes its triumphal entrance surrounded by many people who accompany it with traditional songs and music.
The Cunocchia is the folliage of a 6-10 meter pine, which is cut off on the second sunday in june. Again this time the people meet in the square and with trucks and cars head towards Mount Armizzone, to the sound of accordions and “zampogne”. Then people stand in a circle and , in turns, everyone hits the trunk with the ax  until it falls to the ground. Then it is physically carried with arms, among music and songs, into a clearing where the eldest people tie  the branches together with a long, slender trunk.
At about 3.30 pm with the Cunocchia in front, people go down to the town, in procession, arriving to the "Piano dell’erba". Here the Cunocchia is taken by young people, who carry it on their shoulders . They make continuos stops and the “pannode”do their part. In the evening,they arrive at the square and the Cunocchia is deposited in a corner.
On the third sunday of june, the Cunocchia is united with the Ndenna .Early in the morning, almost to symbolize the intimacy of the union, the two elements are firmly joined with hooks and iron bolts. In the afternoon, at about 4 pm, after having tied many little wooden squares called tacche to  the folliage(each one is matched with an offer)the elevating starts with the help of ropes. Usually lifting is done by many people, the most experienced in the country, supported by the crowd's enthusiasm and applauses. The operation ends when the trunk is perfectly vertical and is burried in the ground, in a  hole ,filled with stones and soil.
At the end of the elevating operations, the climb of the 'Ndenna' begins; The youngest person, who is able to reach the Cunocchia first, takes all the awards.
Bibliography Bronzini G.B. (1998) Museo dei culti arborei ad Accettura. Progetto di allestimento, Relazione scientifica con la collaborazione di G. De Vita e F. Mirizzi, "Lares", n. 64, pp. 85-96
Mirizzi F. (1999) I riti arborei in Italia: tra interpretazioni frazeriane e rappresentazioni etnografiche, "Annali della FAcoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell'Università degli Studi della Basilicata, n. 9, pp. 227-250
Sito internet ufficiale dell'Associazione Pro Loco di Castelsaraceno:


Safeguard plan proposed

Community Participation
The event is planned to be organized with the help of all the volontary members of the Pro Loco Association of Castelsaraceno, with the active collaboration of the Local Institutions and all the economic activities operating in the tourism sector.


Where to eat


Ristorante Panzardi
C.da Frusci, 11
85031 - Castelsaraceno (PZ)
Tel.: 0973 030010 - Fax: 0973 030010
Cell.: 349 3945166
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sito internet:

Hotel Restaurant

Rifugio Favino
Loc. Bosco Favino snc
85031 - Castelsaraceno (PZ)
Tel.: 0973 832505
Cell.: 329 7412562
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sito internet:

Fonte: APT Basilicata

Additional Info

  • Category: Demoethnoantropological itinerary
  • Month: May
  • Place: Castelsaraceno