Main CHURCH - S. MARIA MAGGIORE
The church is on the highest part of the town, called "Terra Vecchia"; it is made in local grey stones, and is dated back to XI century; the town grew around it.
Beginning XIII century there were various implementations and in 1400 Jacopo Trifosiano terminated the bell tower, having square plan with a cusp and whose corners are padded by sculpted symbols and figures.
The church collapsed because of the 1694 earthquake, and was reopen in 1789 after the rebuilding activities cured by Antonio Magni, which followed the Vanvitelli style, up to the status we see today, despite some damages suffered after 1857 and 1980 earthquakes. In 1924 a lighting seriously damaged the cusp, that had to be removed; finally, in August 2019 it has been rebuilt.
The church has a latin cross plant, with a single nave with barrel vaulting, interrupted by nails at large windows, and by a dome topped by a lantern at the cross vault.
On the pendentives of the dome there are the four Evangelists, and along the vault some medallions report biblical scenes (high-relief in stucco).
The church houses wonderful works of art: paintings depicting S. Pietro Apostolo by Carlo Sellitto, S. Antonio da Padova e S. Diego by Filiberto Guma, the Madonna dei Martiri by Vincenzo Lombardo, Crocifissione and Madonna del Rosario (Pietrafesa school), S. Francesco di Paola by Feliciano Mangieri, a portiuncula (author unknown), some sculptures depicting S. Vito (XV century) and Mary Immaculate (XVII century).
since Aug 2019
S. ANTONIO ABATE
Today only the main structures and the monumental entrance are left from the original church made in '400; the rest is the result of several parts added in different times.
Inside you'll find an age-old S.Antonio Abate statue, made of wood, and some interesting paintings.
The artistic stone portal was probably sculpted by the same artists which made the two Main Church gates; at the top there is a S.Antonio low relief.
The presbytery and the two shrines are dated 1892, while the bronze main door was installed in 2000 (Jubilee year).
In the central part of this door we have a man and a woman which raise up their infant, meaning that a new millennium is starting; on the left and right sides there are representations of biblical subjects related to Jubilee.
It's interesting the wall behind the altar, recently painted with a "mural style"
This church was included in a Capucins' convent, which abandoned the S.Michele convent to build a new one adjacent the church between 1590 and 1595. It had also a large vegetable garden with stables and barns.
In 1865 the convent, dedicated to the SS. Salvatore, became a school, then a leper hospital and later an holiday camp, till 1948 when it was demolished to construct municipal buildings.
The church, dedicated since the beginning to S. Rocco, was damaged several times by earthquakes but every time it has been rebuilt thanks to people's devotion : they trusted the miracle worker born in Montpelier, mainly when there were pestilences.
The high altar, dated XVIII, is completely made of wood artfully inlaid, and has a ciborium dated XVI. It has been reconditioned after the 1980 earthquake.
The polyptych that decorates the front wall was made by Pietro Antonio Ferro between 1590 and 1595: it depicts the Transfiguration, the Eternal, the Annunciation, San Bonaventura, San Michele.
There is also a predella with Franciscan martyrs, the emblem of the commissioner and the artist self portrait.
You'll also notice a S.Rocco statue (XVII century) made by Nicola Fumo, that replaced an older one of which there are no more info.
The Shrine is about 3 km distant from Pignola, where in the middle ages there was a Cistercians rural settlement that was later abandoned until in 1524 Leone X gave it to the Chapter of Pignola.
As per other Sanctuaries, the legend says that the chapel was built where a shepherd found by chance the Virgin image that today is in a recess of the portal.
The building we see today was built in neoclassic style in 1789, as reported by a latin inscription on the carved stone portal, to replace the church collapsed because of the 1694 earthquake.
The interior has a central nave with domed ceiling and two aisles with barrel vaults.
The church has been reopen Sept. 21st, 1986 after six years needed to repair the damaged caused by another earthquake.
Here there is the image of the Virgin of Angels, made in notched wood between 1577 and 1587 by Geronimo Arnone, and commissioned by Don Francesco Cammerota, apostolic notary in Pignola; initially she was venerated as Santissima Assunta.
The statue was covered by pure gold after the church rebuilding in 1789. This sanctuary has been damaged several times by earthquakes; when it was not accessible or during wars or pestilences the Virgin image was guarded into the Main Church.
Every year a ritual is renewed: in September the statue is carried from the Pignola main church to Pantano, and in May it comes back, always accompanied by a faithful crowd.
This keeps happening regularly since more than 50 years, and in the past these processions happened more frequently, originated from severe problems impacting the population.
The little S. Lucia church is located on a steep spur on S. Michele river, near the town. It was probably built on XV century , being already known in 1587 when it was restored by “ masters Giorgio Olita and Carlo Boezio with the money given by the Pignola Hospice.” This chapel, accessible through a stairway made in 2011, is open for the triduum of the Saint from Siracusa, with an high participation of devotees. The building needs restoration; the painting layers may hide some original elements. Inside the chapel, Santa Lucia is depicted with a polychrome wooden sculpture made by Geronimo Arnone in 1587.
Madonna delle Grazie
The Madonna delle Grazie church was built replacing the San Giacomo church, and represented a meeting place for pilgrims going to Roma, to Monte S.Angelo on the Gargano, to Holy Land, or simply to reach the sanctuaries present in the vicinities. It was fully rebuilt in the last century by Potenza Civil Engineering, and inside there is a polychrome wooden sculpture (XVIII century) depicting the Virgin with the Child, which is venerated as Madonna delle Grazie (our Lady of Graces). The church is open to celebrate the masses just on July the 2nd
S.Michele’s church is in the countryside, at the foot of San Bernardino mount, over a cave that is also dedicated to the cult of the Archangel Michael. Behind the chapel there are the ruins of the ancient convent of the Capuchins, built in XVI century and later abandoned to go in the new one near S.Rocco church, in the town.
The church has been rebuilt around 80s, and has not particular architectural elements. In 1996 the S.Michele’s statue (XV cent.) was stolen, so today there is a copy made in Ortisei.
It is open just May the 8th and Sept. 29th , for the S.Michele feast.
There are some folk legends about this site: one says that a donkey refused to carry the S.Michele statue to follow the friars that were abandoning the convent.
In Rifreddo there is the church dedicated to S.Maria Madre della Chiesa.
Consecrated on Nov.8, 1967 by Monsignor Augusto Bertazzoni, it was donated by Potenza Municipal Authority on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
It is made of reinforced concrete, that sustain wooden beams in form of a spiral pointing upward: they seem to compete with nearby secular beeches in searching the light.