Basilicata, the complete guide

Anyone who has ever visited Basilicata in their life will surely be surprised and fascinated by its pristine territory, among the few not to have been flooded by industries, companies and concrete buildings.  

The region still retains a historical, artistic and cultural heritage of immense value, evident especially in the city of Matera, as well as an immeasurable landscape treasure that includes the Ionian coast of Metaponto, the gullies, the Lucanian Dolomites and the beaches on the Tyrrhenian Sea.  

A brief history of Basilicata 

The current territory of Basilicata corresponds almost entirely to that of ancient Lucania and is, therefore, between Lao, Sele and Bradano. Originally inhabited by the Enotri, during the eighth century it was invaded by the Greeks and, only in the fifth century, conquered by the Lucani (hence the name). 

The Lucanians were able to create a strong state, able to expand so much that they clashed, at a certain point, with the League of Italians of Sibari, soon defeated. After a long struggle against Taranto, the Lucanians allied with the Romans until the arrival of Pyrrhus and Hannibal, when they decided to betray Rome during the Punic Wars.


Following the plague, malaria and social war during the government of Silla, the Lucan state gradually disintegrated more and more, until Augustus conquered it to rename it Bruzio.  

The name Lucania was restored only between 1932 and 1945, followed later by Basilicata. This aspect is very important because it honors the people of Lucania, always ready to fight and play team in the face of enemy attacks, as well as being able to conquer colonies and strongholds, respecting, however, the culture and traditions.  

The 10 most beautiful places to see in Basilicata 

Lucania is among the most enchanting and enigmatic lands of the Italian peninsula. It consists of a land that offers its visitors not only natural beauty and fascinating landscapes, but also numerous monuments and buildings that still testify to the millennial history of the region. 

In a journey to complete in Basilicata, here are the 10 steps you should definitely include: 


A small fraction of the municipality of Bernalda, on the Ionian Sea, Metaponto is the ideal destination for all lovers of archaeology: inside, in fact, it houses a site that perfectly testifies to the ancient presence of the Greeks. Do not miss the Palatine Tables, the remains of a Doric temple dedicated to Hera.


The Paleolithic Park of Atella 

The Paleolithic Park of Atella is located in the province of Potenza and is among the most incredible places of Basilicata; here have been found numerous bone fragments of humans and animals dating back to over 650 thousand years ago, that is to the period of Homo Erectus.


The Sassi of Matera 

Among the wonders not to be missed in Basilicata are, of course, the Sassi di Matera: declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, constitute the oldest nucleus of the city of Basilicata, considering that it dates back to the Paleolithic.



The town of Venosa, in the province of Potenza, boasts a thousand-year history: here the famous Latin poet Horace was born, so much so that it is still possible to visit his ancient home. In addition, it is recommended to visit the Archaeological Museum located inside the Aragonese Castle, see the Norman tombs of the Holy Trinity and the wonderful Jewish catacombs.


The Dolomiti Lucane 

The landscape of Basilicata leaves you breathless, and special attention deserve the Dolomiti Lucane, the mountain range that is located between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertona, two municipalities in the province of Potenza. The spectacle that you can admire has nothing to envy to that of the Dolomites of northern Italy, and it is recommended to observe it at sunset, when everything turns pink.



Also in the province of Potenza is the city of Maratea, among the 10 wonders of Basilicata and tourist destination par excellence. Here you can discover the unspoilt beauty typical of the region and the peculiarities of its village, with the statue of the Redeemer that gave the city the title of “little Rio de Janeiro”.



Lovers of mystery and adventure can not help but visit Craco, a small village in the province of Matera; today is almost completely abandoned following the disastrous landslide of 1963 that forced the inhabitants to move elsewhere, transforming the town into a real ghost village.


Grumento Nova 

Still in the province of Potenza, the municipality of Grumento Nova is famous for its archaeological remains that include the first town nucleus, the Grumentum of Roman origin. Very interesting is also the Pertusillo Stone Lake, an artificial lake built between the fifties and sixties.


The Literary Park Carlo Levi  

Basilicata also offers an experience of historical memory with the Carlo Levi Literary Park in Aliano, in the province of Matera. Right here the Turin writer spent his forced exile, because of his anti-fascist ideology, during the thirties and composed one of his masterpieces, that is “Christ stopped at Eboli”.


The lakes of Monticchio 

The last stop not to be missed is in Monticchio, in the province of Potenza: it is a small hamlet located at the foot of Mount Volture and is famous for its lakes of volcanic origin, namely Lake Piccolo and Lake Grande.


What to eat in Basilicata: typical dishes and wines 

In addition to the landscape, historical and archaeological heritage, Basilicata is also the land of numerous gastronomic delicacies that never go unnoticed.


Between one stage and another, therefore, the advice is to stop at a restaurant or a trattoria to taste the typical dishes and taste the local wine, in particular: 

  • Senise bran peppers: a particular variety of sweet pepper Igp di Senise, dried in the sun and then fried in plenty of oil; 
  • bread of Matera: similar to the bread of Altamura, is made with ground semolina of local varieties of durum wheat, natural yeast, water and salt and has the characteristic shape of a croissant;  
  • Sarconi Igp beans: there are about 20 different ecopits, all colored and with a very particular taste. Sarconi’s beans are also called “beans at first water” because they do not need a preventive soaking before being cooked;
  • beggar of the mountain materana: once it was the sausage of the poor, today it is a Slow Food prepared with some parts slightly fatter than the pig flavored with wild fennel and fresh garlic;  
  • caciocavallo podolico: the king of southern cheeses, produced with 100% milk of podoliche cows and then aged in natural caves;  
  • red eggplant: typical of lucania, it resembles a tomato and has a slightly spicy and bitter taste;  
  • crapiata materana: typical summer soup based on chickpeas, beans, lentils, broad beans, peas, cicerchie and wheat, completed with cherry tomatoes and new potatoes; 
  • broad beans and chicory: wild chicory accompanied by a puree of broad beans to be enjoyed with fresh bread of Matera.

And in Basilicata there are certainly excellent labels of local wine, with which to accompany the dishes just mentioned. Remember to drink responsibly and taste First of all Aglianico del Vulture, also called Barolo del Sud: a full-bodied red wine, structured, elegant and extremely long-lived to be enjoyed mainly with meat dishes. And then the inevitable Primitivo di Matera, a soft and round wine, with a great body and a sustained alcohol content, indicated for those who appreciate intense and persistent flavors. Let yourself be surprised by one of the most genuine regions of Italy. 

Copertina: expedia

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