Basilicata-Lucania: two names for a single story to tell and a unique memory to rediscover
22 February 2023
The Lucanian countryside, landscapes of a suspended time
The countryside, at times harsh, at other times fertile, but invariably intense with sunshine and colour; bearing witness to ancient wonders that have been brought to life by the work, rhythms and labours of the countryside, resulting in products of excellence, but above all in a profound "culture of the land". The strong personality of these places has inspired poets and writers (from the Latin poet Horace, born in Venosa in 65 BC, to more recent authors such as Rocco Scotellaro and Carlo Levi) who describe landscapes of imagery and suspended times: places sketched in important pages of our literature, to tell of an Italy that often "stopped" before reaching these southern areas - as in "Christ Stopped at Eboli" by Carlo Levi: a literary park is precisely dedicated to him in Aliano, where, in the silence of the moonscape of the badlands, you will grasp his genius and the atmosphere of the difficult times in which he wrote his most famous work.
Nature that surprises amidst the peaks of Vulture and the Apennines
The Lucanian territory is so environmentally valuable that Basilicata is one of the most highly protected regions in Italy with its 2 national parks (Pollino and Val d'Agri-Lagonegrese), 3 regional parks and 7 oases and reserves. Half of this territory is mountainous: some peaks in the Pollino exceed 2000 m and in the striking Lucanian Dolomites they rise to about 1500 m. It is enough to mention that the regional capital, Potenza, rises to over 800 m. The Lucanian Apennines will amaze you with its panoramas and totally unexpected mountain tourism experiences. Truly unique are the Vulture complex, with the mountain (1326 m), lakes, and pastures that distinguish the environment of this huge extinct volcano, and the Pollino area, which preserves natural rarities, like the famous and rugged Loricato pine, of national importance: here you will encounter a network of high quality trails that will enable you to discover Italy's largest protected area, which stretches between Basilicata and Calabria.
A region between two seas, to pick your ideal coastline
Two shorelines washed by two seas, with two deeply distinguishing identities. The Tyrrhenian one, with Maratea, is famed for its wild and uncontaminated beauty, which on the Tyrrhenian is perhaps unrivalled - the sight that opens up to your eyes as you climb up to the statue of the Redeemer, the village's symbol, is unmatched. The Ionian coast is dominated by soft beaches, immersed in generous environments enclosing the signs of some of the most ancient histories: Metaponto, Pisticci, Scanzano Jonico, Policoro, Rotondella, Nova Siri. Nature, human ingenuity and tradition intertwine in the villages overlooking the sea and in the towns near the coast, while of the testimonies of Magna Graecia you will find in Metaponto one of the highest and most spectacular expressions in Italy.
Matera and the unique atmosphere of the Sassi, World Heritage Site
Matera: a miracle that turned what was regarded as a "national problem" into a European Capital of Culture. Here, the collective culture is so powerful that it has succeeded in making people appreciate the beauty of its past. This is because Matera, which is one of the oldest cities in the world, is imbued with the aesthetics of authentic folk art, in which shapes appear simple because they are human, conveying sensations that go straight to the heart and mind. Believed until a few decades ago to be among the poorest, most abandoned and "primitive" places in Italy, the Sassi have become a World Heritage Site as one of the most meaningful examples of human settlement in the world. You will be captivated by their extraordinary cultural, architectural and urbanistic value, by the residential arrangements that are so pure as to be ultra-modern, by the vibrant and unrepeatable atmosphere. It is quite impossible not to be ravished by the suggestive fusion of nature, man and the sacred, which can be breathed in full in the more than 150 cave churches with their splendid Byzantine frescoes or in the Crypt of Original Sin with its extraordinary cave wall paintings.