The longest Tibetan bridge in the world
Near Potenza, in the heart of Basilicata there is one of the most romantic villages in Italy. Castelsaraceno is home to the longest Tibetan bridge in the world.
Seen from above it has the shape of a heart that contains small houses placed next to each other between narrow and winding alleys.
Its landscape is simply enchanting: perched on a rocky spur named La Tempa, Castelsaraceno is surrounded by the beauty of the Pollino National Park and the Appennino Lucano Val d’Agri Lagonegrese National Park. For this reason, it is often the starting point of incredible excursions that allow the most adventurous to get in close contact with unspoilt nature.
And it is in Castelsaraceno that the Tibetan bridge is considered, until recently, the longest in the world because of its 586 meters long. The record was unfortunately blown by the Sky Bridge 721, in the Czech Republic, which boasts a length of 721 meters.
Although it no longer holds the record, the Tibetan bridge of Castelsaraceno remains very long, so much so that to walk it you need at least 1160 steps to take in the void, while you can admire a breathtaking view. The view is incredible, on a wild and unspoilt landscape set in the hinterland of Lucania.
The bridge, located 80 meters above ground level, is an exceptional engineering work not only for its extension, but also because it connects the two majestic parks mentioned before, each with its own entrance. This is why the structure is also known as “the bridge between the two arches”, that is a fascinating link that continues to a rocky spur located between the slopes of Mount Castelveglia and Mount Raparo.
The bridge is open every day, is equipped with side tie rods and guarantees stability and solidity even on windy days. Given the high levels of safety it presents, it is accessible to anyone, except for people under 1.20 meters in height and all animals.
Crossing the Tibetan bridge of Castelsaraceno is an incredibly unique experience, to live at least once in your life.
More bridges and adventures in Basilicata
The Tibetan bridge is not the only equipped route in Castelsaraceno, nor in the whole of Basilicata; the surrounding areas, in fact, are a real dream for all lovers of the mountains, trekking and excursions to be made at any time of the year.
First of all, the territories of the two national parks, Pollino and Appennino Lucano Val d’Agri, allow visitors to live outdoor experiences and contact with nature in any season; Climbing enthusiasts can head for the natural cliffs on the edge of the Favino forest, while those who prefer trekking or hiking have several high altitude trails (up to 2 thousand meters above sea level) suitable for mountain biking.
Here are the main recommended experiences:
The Moon Bridge in Sasso di Castalda
Sasso di Castalda is a small village in the province of Potenza. It has about 700 inhabitants, stands at a height of 800 meters above sea level and is perched on the Saxum, a stone that belongs to the mountain complex Arioso and Pierfaone.
It is known as “the village of the Tibetan bridges”: this is because the village develops around the Fosso di Arenazzo, so from its internal streets you can reach the starting point of the first of the local Tibetan bridges, 95 meters long and suspended at about 70 meters high.
Along it you reach the opposite shore, characterized by unique geological formations. The route continues along the bank of the Fosso to arrive at the Moon Bridge which, in turn, leads to the ruins of the castle that dominates from above.
At their destination, hikers can take advantage of a glass skywalk suspended on the bridge that allows you to admire the surrounding landscape, definitely exciting and suggestive. In total, the route of both Tibetan bridges takes about 2-3 hours.
The Moon Bridge, moreover, is so called for a precise reason: the village is closely linked, in fact, to Rocco Petrone, the engineer who participated in the Apollo 11 mission, whose family was originally from Sasso di Castalda.
The Tibetan Bridge of Balvano
Another town in the province of Potenza is Balvano, which, just like the other villages, has a Tibetan bridge to have to go. It consists in a connection included in the river path Gole del Platano, a perfect place for those who want to go trekking in the middle of nature.
The bridge has several paths, but the most interesting is equipped with a Nepalese bridge that offers a privileged view over the gorge of the river Platano. Thanks to its height difference of about 200 meters, it allows you to walk along the bed of the stream and to dedicate yourself to trekking both day and night.
The Park of the Stars of Trecchina
Another interesting village in the province of Potenza is Trecchina which, being totally surrounded by greenery, is nicknamed “the garden city”. Inside is the Parco delle Stelle, located on Monte Serra Pollino at an altitude of 1030 meters above sea level, which is why it offers tourists a view that reaches the Tyrrhenian coast of Maratea and Calabria.
The activities that can be carried out in Trecchina are really numerous, but at least two are unmissable: the Milky Way and the Big Bang. The first consists of a 5-minute toboggan run, 811 meters long and with a descent that allows you to race through the trees at full speed; the second, however, is a giant swing (from 8 places) that allows you to reach thrilling heights from which you can admire the coast of Calabria.
The Flight of the Angel between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa
The adventures of adrenaline continue with the famous Flight of the Angel between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, a structure that crosses the Dolomiti Lucane and allows the bravest to experience the thrill of flying (in the true sense of the word).
You have to face down and walk a steel cable that connects the peaks of the villages of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa (among the most beautiful villages in Italy). The result? An intense, unique and definitely memorable experience!
The Flight of the Eagle to San Costantino Albanese
In the heart of the Pollino National Park, about 650 meters above sea level, you can make the Flight of L’Aquila to San Costantino Albanese: it is a fall in the air to be carried out with hang glider fixed to a steel cable and a speed of about 90 kilometers per hour. In practice, you fly over the roofs and descend towards the valley.
The flight can also be made in 4 and is highly safe, so that it is also open to children (provided they are at least 10 years of age).
Gastronomy and culture
In addition to outdoor activities, Castelsaraceno offers its visitors memorable gastronomic experiences. Thanks to its immense heritage of flavours linked to tradition, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has recently included among the Traditional Agri-Food Products (PAT) some typical local delicacies: nuglia, pastoral, the milknulata, the cheese tagliatizzo, the salad “i l zit” and the rafanata.
The gastronomic tours offered by the territory are the ideal opportunity to discover a culinary tradition based on simple and genuine ingredients, linked to rural habits and deeply rooted in the history and culture of Lucania.
Finally, those who wish to deepen the history of Castelsaraceno and, in general, of Basilicata, can make a visit to the Museum of Pastoralism: thanks to technology, inside the ancient paths of shepherds have been reproduced, that can be crossed by virtual excursion. An original experience, to try absolutely!