Basilicata

A land of light, clay, woods and mountains, contrasts and allegories

Hemmed in between three regions and washed by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Sea, Basilicata offers tourists the classical image of the best of Italy’s coastal areas. You only have to think of Maratea, Lucania’s window on the sea to the west, which promises tranquillity and seclusion with its numerous little beaches crowned with rocks. While just a few steps away from the Ionian, the “Sassi”, defined essentially and inadequately, recount the old peasant way of life and represent one of its oldest and most unique structures. It is a small region, as well as being one of the least densely populated in Italy, yet it is home to several ethnic groups like the Albanians, who have made this land their shield for survival, a land that has been impoverished for millenniums and centuries, on the edge of history’s most important events. Today, even though the new assault of modern living is growing rapidly and steadily narrowing the ancestral models of rural living, many parts of Basilicata still “resist” this powerful force and preserve values, traditions and customs, which are offered to visitors with discretion and sincerity. This is why getting to know Basilicata today represents a truly unique and wonderful experience. When people everywhere speak of uncontaminated nature, great open spaces, citing examples of foreign countries, we must not forget that in the south of Italy too there is a region that can easily offer all of this, in the awareness of its own history. Craftsmen from Lucania, in their manifold expressions, continue to produce unique objects, whilst remaining relatively unknown. Masters of hammers, axes, lathes and skiving knives set up a self-sufficient way of life in their shops that was organised with the creation of behaviour, language, jokes and serious cooperatives. In Basilicata there was once, and still is a true “manual tradition” based on a system of micro-structures, whose activity responded to real, basic needs; this system also includes those products originally conceived as pastimes, such as the handicrafts of the so-called “shepherds’ art” and wood carving. Finally, the typical foods that can be tasted on the tables of Lucania include beans, mushrooms, truffles, olives, various kinds of cold meats and salami, chestnuts, honey, cheeses, dairy products and, as in the whole of the South of Italy, extra virgin olive oil.

I sassi di Matera (foto della Regione Basilicata)

MATERA, THE CITY OF THE SASSI

Its province is known all over the world for the Sassi recognised in 1993 by Unesco as a world heritage site. An important settlement of the Magna Grecia, Matera has become known over the centuries for its monastic communities, landed properties and houses perched on rises.

Vista aerea della costa della Basilicata (foto della Regione Basilicata)

POTENZA, A CAPITAL RICH IN HISTORY

The city has been influenced over past centuries by three violent earthquakes, which have not, however, stopped its development. Potenza preserves valuable historical artistic monuments, as well as the beautiful tourist locations in its province, surrounded by uncontaminated nature.