Basilicata is an undiscovered and unspoiled region situated between Campania, Calabria and Puglia. Stunning coastlines, fishing villages, rugged mountains and green valleys are only a few of the attractions on offer. The tourist season runs from June to September.
The town of Maratea sits on the best of the coastline and benefits from sandy coves and crystal clear water. The town consists of two distinct parts. A small fishing village and harbor nestled below a collection of colorful houses, restaurants and bars. Overlooking all this is Belvedere point on which stands a huge marble statue of Christ. The old town makes up the second area, perched on the hillside, with narrow streets, charming squares and a mix of shops to suit all tastes.
The second town of Basilicata is Matera, which stands 401m above the sea level and is divided into an ancient part called I Sassi and a modern town extending over the plain above.
Matera’s major attraction is certainly I Sassi, an agglomeration of almost completely abandoned houses carved out of stufa rock. This cave town, dating back to the 8th century, consists of tiny houses without windows, damp walls and earthen floors used by the local population until 1952. Apart from the charm of this unique place, in Matera tourists can visit almost 120 little churches, some decorated with medieval frescos, a 15th century castle and a cathedral.
With three national parks, this is an ideal place for nature lovers:
- Pollino National Park, Italy’s largest, protecting a number of rare species including the Apennine wolf, wild cats and otters;
- The National Park of Appennino Lucano “Val d’Agri Lagonegrese” – a protected area that houses many ancient villages with beautiful churches, and other historical sites such as the archaeological site of Grumentum;
- The Gallipoli Cognato Park – the smallest of the three, with the beautiful Lucanian Dolomites, characterised by tall odd shaped peaks with names, such as ‘the Eagle’, ‘the Anvil’, ‘the Big Mother’ and ‘the Owl’.
It is ideal for hiking, with many signposted trails.
The delicious regional cuisine has been influenced by Basilicata’s colorful history and cultural roots, with ingredients originating from Northern European, Spanish, French and Arabic traditions. You will find fresh fish available on the coast and flavorsome home grown vegetables which flourish in the fertile volcanic soil. Some of the region’s specialties include the Senise peppers (In powdered form the Senise pepper is often used in local cheeses and cured meats and for flavoring soups), Lucanica sausages (pork seasoned with salt, pepper and fennel seeds) and the famous Matera bread.