Viggiano was built on the plain of the modern centre, on a "villa" (a house in the countryside) of the Roman noble family, Veius o Vibius. Its name probably derives from the name of this noble family. During the roman period Viggiano became a "pagus" (a rural district in the ancient roman territories) of Grumentum, a town situated few kilometres away. In the 10th century, to escape Saracen attacks, some inhabitants moved up to where the modern village is now situated.
Very few but significant remains from medieval epoch testify the Byzantine and Basilian cultural influence: the rocky church of S.M. La Petra and the wooden sculpture of the Madonna Nera venerated up till now in the whole region.
In the 1268 the town took part in the Ghibeline revolt. Afterwards Viggiano was ruled by various landowners and running through the historical course of the Regno delle due Sicilie and then of the "Regno di Napoli".
In the Bourbon rule Viggiano was involved in the revolt of 1799 and afterwards it took part in the Carbonari uprisings of 1821-1848.
In the 1866 Viggiano rebelled against the French command occupying Southern Italy. The revolt caused the death of many inhabitants especially the young since a past earthquake had caused great damage and several deaths.
Between the 17th and 18th centuries Viggiano flourished and prospered developing a tradition of wooden handcraft and especially in the creation of harps, flutes violins and other musical instruments.
Beside this tradition in the same period, the image of the "Musicante Viggianese" (a musician coming from Viggiano) who wandered through Italy and Europe appears for the first time.
The earthquake of 1987 encouraged migration towards America and consequently several craftsmen and musicians left Viggiano to go overseas. Between them there was also the famous flutist and "maestro" Leonardo De Lorenzo. Unfortunately the modern community hasnít keep any trace of this important musical and craftsman tradition.
Today Viggiano is a centre of about 3.200 inhabitants, situated at 1.023 m. It is a winter touristic centre and is equipped for winter sports activities and has many tourist accommodation structures. Down on the plain there spreads the industrial area and its enterprises, including the oil industry centre, which has been built recently because of the rich subsoil.