Acerenza Lagerénze (in dialect lucano) is located on a plateau from the steep sides, between the Bradano river and its tributary Fiumarella, and has always been very important from a strategic point of view for the defense of the territory.
The ancient Acheruntia, situated at 833 m a.s.l., appears as an impregnable fortress, whose origins date back to the first tribe degli Osci. Conquered by the Romans in 318 BC, was evangelised by S. Peter in 63 A.D. its position, considered important from a strategic point of view, dominated the large arteries linking the south to Rome: the via Appia, the Appia Traiana and track Erculea. After the conquest of the Lombards, became in 605 chief town of one of the three castaldati della Lucania and in the XI century the Normans they strengthened the castle, fortified the town, built the Cathedral and gave it the name of Basilicata region in honor of this great Christian Basilica. Every year, the 11 and 12 August, is celebrated this important event in a historical commemoration, which transforms the village in a theater to open sky. In 1216 the Knights Templar left traces of their passage in Acerenza. From the 13th to 15th century undergoes the Swabian period, Angevins and Aragonese with families feudatarie of Sanseverino, Durres, Ruffo, Ferrillo, Orsini di Gravina. In 1593 king Philip II of Spain establishing the Duchy of Acerenza with the Pinelli and afterwards the Pignatelli of Belmonte.
Its historic center has maintained the characteristics of the medieval village with the urbanism to radial pattern around the Lombard Castle (now the seat of the museum of sacred art) and the cathedral, consecrated in 1080 to S. Maria Assunta and S. Canio, patron saint of the city. Built on a previous paleochristian church that, in turn, stood on a pagan temple dedicated to Hercules Acheruntino, the Cathedral is in Romanesque style-Cluniac, on the style of the French Abbey of Cluny. Inside you can admire important pictorial works of Antonio stable and the crypt of the renaissance of the XVI century.
Acerenza is the homeland of St Laviero Martyr, a young man who was born in Acerenza in vico Tergia and who died a martyr in Grumento on 17 November 312. Its annual feast of 17 November is preceded by a Triduum of Prayer in the church dedicated to him.