Don’t be Shy, Visit Calabria & Basilicata: Get-to-Know Two of Italy’s Least Known Regions. Part 2. Basilicatainfo@italysbestrome.com
Basilicata, the instep of this boot-shaped peninsula, is becoming a household name. The traction is due to its Cultural Capital, the cave-dwelling city of Matera. But beyond Matera, Basilicata, like Calabria, is unappreciated. Basilicata offers a truly authentic Italian experience, with a unique sense of culture and traditions, ancient architectural ruins, and spectacular landscapes, all untouched by mass tourism.
Welcome to Basilicata.
How to get to Basilicata –
Although there are no direct flights from the USA, there are daily flights from Italian cities and other European countries to nearbye airports, making it a perfect second leg to any European vacation. The closest airports to Basilicata are in neighboring regions Calabria and Puglia.
Art & Cultura in Basilicata –
Basilicata is rich in Greek ruins, Roman traces, Norman Castles and medieval abbeys. There is Metaponto, known for its archaeological park with an ancient Greek theatre and a Doric temple. Then there is the little Pompei of Basilicata, Grumentum, which has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, baths, temples, and more.
Everyone knows Francis Ford Coppola, an icon of world cinema, who has directed many masterpieces including The Godfather. Well, you know? His family comes from Bernalda a lively town with a small historic center.
Another interesting site is Melfi, known for its 13th c. Norman Castle, still an outstanding example of military architecture. Melfi is the gateway to the Vulture area, an extinct volcano and unique in geographical terms. Melfi is also the location of the famous Constitutions of Melfi, a new legal code for the Kingdom of Sicily, most probably the highest example of legislation. For instance, one of the principles on which the Constitution was based was the equality of all citizens before the law… a very modern concept, right?
The Natural Wonders of Basilicata –
With vast internal farmlands, lush parks and rugged mountains, this region is another Eco-haven. Although the official name is Basilicata, Italians know the region as Lucania. Many argue the origin comes from the Latin “Lucus,” meaning forests. In fact, 30% of Basilicata is covered by regional or national parks. But these parks are not only internal, Basilicata has some beautiful coastlines on the Ionian and Tyrrhenian. Basilicata’s extraordinary wealth of nature can be seen from small towns or outdoor activities in national parks.
On the Tyrrhenian coast, Basilicata’s chief town, Maratea, is no longer exactly undiscovered, but still relatively uncrowded. Its beaches are surrounded by lush greenery and is a cultural gem, known as the city of 44 churches. For a nice trek, head up to the dominating 22-metre-high statue of the Redeemer, the 3rd highest in the world.
Basilicata also stretches towards the area of Policoro which is home to the largest plain of the region and prelude to the beautiful Ionian coast of the finest sand.
Now comes one of our favorite sites, the Lucanian Dolomites. In the middle of Basilicata, rise the imposing Lucanian Dolomites, with spectacular spiers and shapes that suggested names as the golden eagle, the great mother, the little owl. Consider that the mountains emerged 15 million years ago! Close to the peaks of the Lucanian Dolomites, there are the small towns of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa placed at the altitude of 1.000 meters. From these towns it is possible to admire the incredible landscape of the Dolomites as well as along many paths that lead to the most beautiful places.
Within the Lucanian mountains is one of the most outrageous outdoor experiences in Basilicata. On the “Volo dell’Angelo” (Flight of the Angel), feel the thrill of flying. Suspended on a 1000 m wire that stretches between the two mountain towns, Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, travel at a very fast speed and at heights of up to 400 m.
After such an adventure, you can’t forget Basilicata!