Basilicata at glance

Our mission : Guide the discerning traveler deeper into Southern Italy little places, the odd nooks and crannies that are largely unprofitable to write about, and along the way, introduce our visitors to our people, our traditions, our folklore & products of those places we will be "visiting".

 The  Flag.
Band of four waves to symbolize the four rivers of the region:
the Basento, the Sinni, the Bradano and Agri.

The land of the ancient Oenotrians and the Bruttians, the land of vines. ?Also known as Lucania,  it is scattered with Greek ruins, medieval abbeys and Norman castles. A region somewhat secluded, out of time. A source of inspiration that has marked the Italian culture and beyond. Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cristo si è fermato a Eboli) is a memoir by Carlo Levi, published in 1945, a classic of Italian neo-realist, translated also into many foreign languages. Matera, with the rugged beauty of the Sassi and the Murgia, a haunting and exotic  backdrop for many movies.? 

The provinces .
 Potenza and Matera 

 Capital - Potenza - Major cities - Matera.

Most beautiful hamlets - I borghi piu' belli .
Acerenza - Castelmezzano - Guardia Perticara - Pietrapertosa - Venosa

UNESCO Heritage Site

Matera Sassi di Matera - The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches .

The Pollino National Park , Italy's largest protected area, covers an area of 192,000 hectares, spreading  from southern Basilicata to the northern part of  Calabria. This beautiful park is the perfect place for lovers of trekking and hiking, for those who love a closer relationship with nature.?


In the heart of Basilicata, approximately 30 km from Potenza, the Dolomites Lucane rise free of vegetation, with spectacular pinnacles and shapes named by local with imaginative names such as the 'golden eagle (L"aquila Reale)', 'the anvil' (l'incudine), 'the great mother' (Grande Madre) and 'the owl' (la civetta).


The first thing that strikes travelers crossing the territory of the Vulture Melfese, is the hills, mountains and valley covered with a luscious green and lots of natural springs. The fertile land is the result of the of Mount Vulture, an active volcano many thousand of years ago.

The  "Calanchi"  (badlands) characterizes the rugged landscape of the south-eastern Lucania, between the valleys of the Sauro, the Agri and the Basento.

The Gravina is the deep canyon dividing the Sassi (Matera) from the Murge plateau. Here we can find signs of Paleolithic and Neolithic civilizations, from churches dug in the rock to prehistoric villages and tombs.

First occupied in the Paleolithic Age, the myriad natural caves were gradually burrowed deeper and expanded into living spaces by peasants and artisans throughout the classical and medieval eras.?

It is believed that by the 7th century (601 to 700) monks fleeing Arab invasion, started arriving in the Italian peninsula via Sicily, mainly from countries such as Syria, Libya, Egypt, and from other Byzantine north African provinces. The take over of Sicily by the Arabs and the iconoclasm unleashed by the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Syrian, forced many of the hermits to seek refuge in caves (chiese rupestri ) from where to continue practising their rituals, giving start to cave dwelling of which, Sassi is a fine example.

One site often missed by tourists is the ”Palombaro”, located below the main street leading to the Sassi. An' immense natural cistern dug in the rock where rain water was collected and redistributed by a complex water system.
The coasts of the region were  home to many waves of  Hellenic colonization. Though Metapontum was an ancient Greek Achaean colony, various traditions assigned to it a much earlier date . The ruins are located in the frazione of Metaponto, in the comune of Bernalda, in the Province of Matera. It seems clear that at one time  it was time a flourishing and opulent city. One legend suggest that it was founded by Epeius, the hero who constructed the wooden horse at Troy. 

Grumentum was an ancient town in the centre of Lucania, in what is now the comune of Grumento Nova which is located about 2000 feet above sea-level. The archaeological site is a ridge on the right bank of the Aciris (Agri), much below the modern town. It was founded by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, during the Samnite Wars, as a fortified vanguard. Its ruins include those of a large amphitheatre.  A domus with 4th century mosaics is also present, as well as two small temples of imperial times. Outside the walls monumental tombs, a Palaeo-Christian basilica and an aqueduct have been found.
Castel Lagopescole or Lagopesole, is a small hamlet belonging to the municipality of Avigliano, in the province of Potenza. The highlights being the Castel, one of Basilicata's most well preserved and most beautiful.

Sitting on a cliff in the province of  Matera, overlooking the Cavon River Valley is the abandoned town of Craco. The area was called “Montedoro” and was inhabited by Greeks who moved inland from the coastal town of Metaponto. Due to frequent landslide the town began to be evacuated in the early 60's and completely abandoned  following the earthquake in 1980. In 2007, the descendants of the immigrants of Craco in the United States formed "The Craco Society".

The village of Brienza, in the province of Potenza is one of Basilicata's most interesting Medieval town with a rich cultural heritage. The Caracciolo’s Castle dominates the Melandro Valley to become the main stage during the many historical events held in the summer months.

Muro Lucano ( Potenza Province) is composed of the old town and the surrounding areas of Cappuccini. The town lies on a slope over the Muro ravine, with quaint houses built on terraces. The name of the city comes from the medieval wall (in Italian muro) that surrounded the medieval centre.
Venosa, once known as Venusia, was, according to a legend, one of the cities founded by the Greek hero Diomedes, king of the Argos. He dedicated the city to Venusia, the goddess Aphrodite, also known as Venus, to appease her after the Trojans were defeated. Not far is the beautiful unfinished  'Basilica of Venosa'.

Below , Christ the Redeemer of Maratea (Italian: Cristo Redentore) is a statue of Jesus Christ in the town of  Maratea,  by Bruno Innocenti, a sculptor from Florence.
This is one of the biggest statues of Jesus in Europe, third after Christ the King in ?wiebodzin, Poland and Cristo-Rei (Christ the King) in Lisbon, and the fifth in the world after Cristo de la Concordia and Christ the Redeemer, both in South America. It is 21.23 m high, the head is 3 m long and the arm-span is 19 m.

Castelmezzano is located in the  province of Potenza and listed as one of Italy's most beautiful village. Also included by Budget Travel magazine among "The best places you've never heard of". In Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa you have the possibility to experience il 'Volo Dell Angelo'  ( The Angel's Flight) and enjoy a breathtaking view of nature below.

The 11 century Melfi castle is one of  most important medieval castles in Southern Italy.
Built  by the Normans as a gateway to Apulia. Is is located in the Vulture area of the province of Potenza.

Rivello's (Potenza province) origin date back to the Middle Ages; However, archaeological finds date its existence to pre-Roman times. The village is a web of narrow cobbled streets dotted with ancient churches, chapels and palaces. Since the Middle Ages, the city has been divided into two distinct districts, the upper one, called bardàv'ti,  tied to the Church of the Latin rite (St. Nicholas of Bari) and the lower one, ('bardàsci') to the  parish of Greek rite (Santa Maria del Poggio).
Tricarico (Triakron), in the province of Matera, is one of Lucania's best preserved medieval historical centres . The first news documented about the town dates to 849, when it was a Lombard county. Conquered by the Byzantine in 968. In 1048 became Norman fortified town. The Arab quarters of Rabatana and Saracens stand as a witness to the town's long history. Countless are the architectural styles, both religious and public.

Barile is a town and comune in the province of Potenza and an ancient Arbëreshë settlement, where the population still maintains strong links with that culture and speak both Italian and Arbëreshë, a dialect of Albanian.  
The first flow of immigrants is considered to have settled in the area in 1447.
Typical of this areas are the so called "Seshë" ("square" in the ancient Arbëreshë language), consisting of caves dug in the rock by the first Albanian immigrants, nowadays used to store famous Aglianico wine.

Not far from Metaponto is the picturesque beach resort of Policoro, ?undoubtedly?,? this region's tourism center. A perfect resort for families due to its fantastic beaches with shallow waters and clean sands as well as many nearby attractions. Nearby took place the first big battle between the Romans and Pyrrhus. (280 BC).

The region enjoys an escape to both seas, the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian. Both coasts are characterized by their own distinct landscapes. The Ionian coast introduces  visitors to a wild and unspoiled environment, with several coves, caves and crannies to explore. Suitable for nature lovers who want to spend a quiet  holiday. The Tyrrhenian side is characterized by the beautiful coast of Maratea, with 30 kilometers of beaches, hidden between spectacular rocky cliffs, some of which are accessible only by boat or through paths ideal for those who enjoy hiking or long walks.?

One of the events taking place in Matera during the Christmas season is the Live Nativity Scene. Is it the world's biggest, bringing you to a different dimension, lost in a time where the past is almost palpable, giving you the sensation of being part of it, exciting, breathless, mesmerizing. 

Another event worth mentioning is the Festival of the Bruna with its "sfilata del carro trionfale", (wagon triumphal parade) in honor of the patron saint Maria Santissima della Bruna. The wagon is consequently "assaulted and destroyed" and pieces are held as a good omen until the year after. A legend about why the destruction of the wagon tells of a probable upcoming attack by the Saracens. The Materan people, to avoid the danger of the icons falling into the hands of the attackers, destroy the wagon, avoiding the looting.

Art & Craft 
Handicraft it is rooted in the culture of the pastoral farming, while maintaining the fundamental characteristics even in the more modern.The objects of the artisan tradition of Lucania are created mostly to meet, as well as an innate aesthetical need, even the normal demands of daily life. Normally used materials for the creation of forms and objects are always those that the nature of the place offers. Still very alive is the art of making musical instruments, among which the best known are the bagpipes and the Viggiano harp are well known. In Terranova del Pollino and in San Paolo Albanese it is possible to visit some workshops of artisans that craft several kinds of bagpipes, ‘surduline’, ‘ciaramelle’, ‘cupa-cupa’ and tambourines.
The ’Surdulina’ is a local type of bagpipe; it has Arabian origins and is the smallest Italian kind of bagpipe.



This is a sheep-farming area, mainly mountainous, where  strong wines are produced to accompany a robust cuisine largely based on pasta, lamb, pork, game and abundant dairy produce.
The salamis and cured meats are of course excellent. Lamb is flavored with herbs and grasses on which it feeds.
Wonderful thick soups - true minestrone-are produced in the mountains and plentiful eel and fish from the lakes. The unsophisticated tasty cheeses might not be an household name but are still produced following old customs and know how.
Local specialties are the main "
gnummareddi": rolls of veal innards, the soppressata, the traditional 'Lucanica" sausage.
One of the traditional ingredients,  especially in Val d'Agri is the horseradish, grated on the homemade pasta, or used as the main ingredient in the "
rafanata": an omelet made with this type of root. 
Another specialty of the region are characteristic peppers "cruschi" (crispy).
Dried red peppers that are seared in olive oil, often accompanied by cod or used as a condiment in the dough. Particularly known are the Senise peppers that have been awarded the IGP. One of the most important wines of Basilicata is the Alianico.One of the most important wines of Basilicata is the Alianico.

Here is a partial list of typical products, often linked to small craft activities; some of they are known even outside national borders, others are little known and not easy to find.?
Pecorino di Filiano - Cheese made from milk of sheep and goats and aged in natural caves or other underground areas. Its name refers to the ancient activity of spinning wool once highly developed in the area.


Melanzana rossa di Rotonda - Red eggplant from Rotonda - With  a shape similar to that of a tomato, the Red Aubergine is native to tropical Africa; is spicier than the common eggplant and has a bitter aftertaste  and a characteristic flavor reminiscent of  a  prickly pear .? Usually preserved in oil and vinegar. Grown only the in areas within the Pollino Park .

Caciocavallo Podolico - Produced in the area of Viggiano and Val d'Agri, using milk from the Podoliche cows, a race introduced by the Barbarians following their conquest of Italy.

The Wine "Aglianico del Vulture" is produced in the area surrounding the volcanic slopes of Vulture and includes the towns of Venosa, Acerenza, Atella, Banzi, Barrel, Forenza, Ginestra, Genzano di Lucania , Lavello, Maschito, Melfi, Palazzo San Gervasio, Rapolla, Rionero in Vulture, Ripacandida. The Aglianico plant was brought to Italy by the Greeks.
The Romans produced the famous wine Falerno known as the "Barolo of the South.
The wine shows a color ruby red garnet, and is considered one of the best Italian wines to be paired roasted meats.

The music.

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Top of the page
Potenza - Matera 

Acerenza - Castelmezzano 
Guardia Perticara - Pietrapertosa

At glance : Abruzzo - Molise - Campania  
Apulia - Calabria - Sicilia - Sardegna

Towns - Comuni  
 Potenza ProvinceAbriola - Acerenza - Albano di Lucania - Anzi - Armento - Atella - Avigliano - B - Balvano - Banzi Baragiano - Barile - Bella - Brienza - Brindisi di Montagna - C - Calvello - Calvera - Campomaggiore - Cancellara Carbone - Castelgrande -Castelluccio Inferiore - Castelluccio Superiore - Castelmezzano - Castelsaraceno Castronuovo Sant'Andrea - Cersosimo - Chiaromonte - Corleto Perticara -  E - Episcopia -  F - Fardella - Filiano Forenza - Francavilla sul Sinni - G - Gallicchio - Genzano di Lucania - M - Maratea - Montemilone - Montemurro  - Muro Lucano -  N - Nemoli - Noepoli - O - Oppido Lucano - P - Palazzo San Gervasio - Paterno di Lucania Pescopagano - Picerno - Pietragalla - Pietrapertosa - Pignola - R - Rapolla - Rapone - Rionero in Vulture - Ripacandida - Rivello - Roccanova - Rotonda - Ruoti - Ruvo del Monte - S -San Chirico Nuovo - San Chirico Raparo San Costantino Albanese - San Fele - San Martino d' Agri - San Paolo Albanese - San Severino Lucano - Sant'Angelo le Fratte - Sant'Arcangelo - Sarconi - Sasso di Castalda - Satriano di Lucania - Savoia di Lucania - Senise - Spinoso - T - Teana - Terranova di Pollino -Tito - Tolve -  Tramutola -  Trecchina - Trivigno - V - Vaglio di Basilicata  - Venosa - Vietri di Potenza - Viggianello - Viggiano .

MATERA Province -  Accettura - Aliano - Bernalda - C - Calciano - Cirigliano - Colobraro - Craco 
F - Ferrandina - G - Garaguso - Gorgoglione - Grassano - Grottole - I - Irsina - M - Miglionico - Montalbano Jonico - Montescaglioso - N - Nova Siri - O - Oliveto Lucano - P - Pisticci - Policoro - Pomarico - R - Rotondella 
S - Salandra - San Giorgio Lucano - San Mauro Forte - Scanzano Jonico - Stigliano - T - Tricarico - Tursi 
V - Valsinni

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Where to stay
Where to eat

B & B
Farm House - Masserie / Agriturismo
Room for rent - Affittacamere
Apartment for rent - Appartamenti
Houses for rent - Case in affitto
Gastronomia Locale
Selezione di Ristoranti locali 
Trattorie - wine bar - osterie e pizzerie 
luoghi del gusto - spacci aziendali - locande ed enoteche
Guide Turistiche - Accompagnatore Turistico


 centri storici - aree archeologiche -  musei, città d’arte .



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