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Basilicata

  • Description
  • What to See
  • What to Do
  • What to Taste

Basilicata is embedded between Calabria and Apulia, in the south of Italy. 

One does not stumble across this region accidentally but chooses to visit it in search of a new experience, plunging into places where silence, colors, scents and flavors remove the visitor from the frenzy and stress of modern life and offer unique sensations. 

The woods and forests that cover the mountains are dotted with small and charming villages, some even at an altitude of 1000 mt, where pure air, genuine flavors and the beauties of nature are combined with historical vestiges satisfying every curiosity.

Beautiful - yet less traversed than other regions - is the area of the Monticchio Lakes, one of the most spectacular locations in Basilicata. 
Lake Grande and Lake Piccolo are two splendid stretches of water that fill the two craters of Mount Vulture, now extinct, and are surrounded by thick and lush vegetation. 

Even though it is a mainly internal region, Basilicata touches two seas: the Ionian and Tyrrhenian
The Ionic coast, with the two famous sea resorts of Metaponto and Policoro, offers wide beaches, either sandy or pebbly, and partially surrounded by pinewoods and rows of eucalyptus that give off a lovely scent. 

The Gulf of Policastro, on the Tyrrhenian side, has higher and more indented coasts, where steep promontories alternate with small beaches washed by a crystal-clear sea. 

The provinces of the region are Potenza (regional capital) and Matera

Matera's Paleolithic setlements, the "Sassi," are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with Matera's numerous rupestrian churches. Taking a walk along the lanes of the Civita, the oldest part of the town, you enter the ancient urban area formed by a dense network of caves, dug out of the rock by shepherds to shelter their family and livestock. It is an ancient architectural work with no design, which gave rise to a real monumental work, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world. 
This place is so singular that is was chosen by the famous actor and director Mel Gibson as the setting for his movie “The Passion.”
 
The 20 mi-coast of Basilicata on the Tyrrhenian side is famous around the world for the richness and beauty of its seabeds. For those who prefer not to plunge into the depths of the sea, this splendid land offers countless small beaches for relaxing under the sun and swimming in the unpolluted sea water. A different way to enjoy and get to know the sea is a boat tour to visit the many caves that form the coastline. 

Lastly, Maratea, a precious pearl embedded in the charming Gulf of Policastro, is also the location of the behemoth Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentore) that rises from Mount San Biagio.

For the most part, Basilicata is occupied by mountains, covered with wonderful woods and splendid forests, a spectacular landscape where one can regenerate, have fun and eat good food all through the year. 

In winter, when a white blanket covers the highest peaks, one can practice a wide range sports - which are not excluded to one season. During the summer, the mountains are a perfect place for those who love walking, climbing, cycling or just reading a good book. 
Riding a grass scootersnow tubing, or attempting a drive in a devalkart (a type of go-kart on grass): these are all original and enjoyable ways to spend your holidays in the beautiful nature of this region. 

There are wonderful places to explore riding a horse or a mountain bike, or to simply take a walk along one of the many paths that climb up the mountains and lead to breathtakingly-beautiful views. 

Limpid and pure, roaring and swift, calm and warm: this is the sea that touches Basilicata. Streams and brooks flow down from the mountains, lakes are surrounded by lush vegetation, and the water basks in its thousands of blue shades. Vacationers can practice rafting or canyoningcanoeing or sailingscuba diving or sport fishing.
 
For those who love shopping and nightlifeMaratea is perfect and rich in options: a glance at the shop windows of the old town, dinner in one of the typical restaurants of the port, dessert in one of the bars of the piazza, and finally a visit to one of the many clubs to dance the night away. 

The typical food of Basilicata, simple and fragrant, is entirely based on a few local products, wisely combined in typical and very old traditional dishes.
 
The most important product is certainly durum wheat homemade pasta, kneaded with ancient tools like the rasola, the cavarola (a blade and a small chopping board, respectively) and the maccarunara. Just the skill and mastery of the housewives is needed to make other types of pasta, like minuich and tria

The tastiest sauces cannot go without hot pepper (pepperoncino), the real symbol of cuisine in Basilicata, locally known as diavolicchio (little devil). 

Panella, big bread loaves made with flour and boiled potatoes, and pancotto, a soup with toasted bread and eggs, are two typical dishes made with bread, another common ingredient in this area. 

Following tradition, the people of Basilicata often eat lamb dishes, like cazmarr, a meat loaf made with offal (called gnumaredd in dialect) and cutturiddi, a sort of lamb stew. 
Another typical dish is lamb’s head, which is baked and seasoned with oregano and pecorino. Lucanica is a famous meat dish; it is a sausage made with lean pork meat, prepared in many different ways, without additives.
 
Vegetables are widely used in Basilicata too, and offer a wide range of tasty dishes spiced with a hint of pepperoncino. We can mention vegetable calzoneciammotta (fried potatoes, peppers and eggplants with tomato sauce), cialledda, with broad beans, potatoes and artichokes, and lampaggioni salad

A superb vegetable dish is the piatto d’erbe alla lucana (Basilicata style vegetable dish), which is made with onions, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, basil and parsley cooked together and seasoned with olive oil.