At the very end of the Valle del Basento, in a panoramic
position is where Bernalda is positioned
between two rivers, the Bradano and Basento. It is not too
far from the Jonic coast where Metaponto is located.
This centre has Medieval origins, but the territory where
Bernalda was founded hosts Lucani and Greek settlements. Archaeological
finds have identified an ancient centre not too distant from
the modern habitation.
The City’s coat of arms strongly
re-establishes ties through rural symbolism depicting an ox
surrounded by ears of wheat.
The centre’s origins date back to around the X or XII
century, when it assumed the name Camarda. It wasn’t
until 1470, that it became known by its current name, being
a contracted form of the feudatory Bernardino de Barnaudo,
secretary to the Aragonese King. This feudatory saw the construction
of the Castle in the village, which immediately became his
The fief was then sold to the Navarreta Family in 1609 and
remained theirs until the end of feudal rights sanctioned
by law by Giuseppe Bonaparte during 1806.
After a brief period characterised by the Republican motions
and major figures during the Renaissance period under the
Bourbon Reign of the Two Sicilies, Bernalda passed into the
Reign of Italy in 1861.
The 20th century strengthened the City’s economy through
tourism, both seaside and archaeological. Every year, the
splendid Jonic beaches and Archaeological Park in Metapontino
attract more and more visitors.
A visit to the City
The nucleus of a visit to Bernalda is Piazza Cavour where
one can admire the majestic Aragonese Castle dating back to
the XV century, which is positioned in front of the Chiesa
Madre (Mother Church) dedicated to San Bernardino (XVI century).
From here one can enjoy a beautiful panorama over the Valle
The Sant’Antonio Convent, seat of the town hall, and
the ancient San Donato Church (XI-XII century) complete the
picture of architectural works in Bernalda.
Tourists also visit Bernalda for its close proximity to the
splendid Jonic Coast, where they can enjoy clean waters and
beaches that have been recognised by the Bandiera Blue over
the last few years.
The Italo-American film director Francis Ford Coppola was
born in Bernalda.
Places of interest
The Aragonese Castle (XV century); Chiesa Madre of San Bernardino
(XVI century); Sant’Antonio Convent (XVII century);
Chiesa San Donato (XI-XII century).