What to do in Italy : Matera and Basilicata
We travel far and everywhere and sometimes we do not stop to admire the amazing beauties surround us. Italy has beautiful places and if you are thinking about your holidays in Italy, today I tell to you about Basilicata. You will not be disappointed, promised!
Basilicata is rich in history, art, unique landscapes, amazing views, food and exquisite wines. The holiday in Italy is perfect even for families with children! Increasingly touristy, Basilicata will welcome you with the love that the locals can give.
What to do in Italy : Basilicata On The Road
Stages for those who love sports, nature, art and culture
Let’s start with “Basilicata on The Road” and rent a car with RentalCars.com that never disappoints us and we start discovering this magnificent region that will give us beautiful shots!
What to do in Italy : Il Vulture
Melfi and surroundings – we discover the reign of Federico II
We are on the border with Puglia, this area takes its name from Mount “Vulture”, an ancient volcano still alive even if not more active, around which have developed several cities. Let’s talk about Venosa, formerly Venusia, founded by the Romans in the year 291 BC. to control of the Appian Way; the Romans after the victory over the Samnites, dedicated the city to Venus, from which the current name derives.
Known as “the city of Horace”, the famous Latin poet was born and spent his childhood here. Considered among the most beautiful villages in Italy, visiting Venosa you will find that it’s so cute!
Here we are in Melfi, stronghold of Frederick II of Swabia.
The historic center is still enclosed in the original city wall inside which stands the Castle, famous for having hosted several papal councils, inside which in 1089 the first crusade was banned in the Holy Land while in 1231 the “Mefitan Constitutions” were promulgated. And if you are fascinated by the story of Frederick II, I will soon tell you about the castle of Lagopesole, a few kilometers from the town.
The history captures our attention, but Melfi also offers oases and extreme relaxation. A few steps from the village, the lakes of Monticchio will leave you speechless.
Of volcanic origin, their color characterizes them: the small lake with its greenish color and the bigger one with its olive-green color. What not to get lost in the area? The Abbey of San Michele.
From here comes the wine considered one of the finest Italian red wines, Aglianico del Vulture is produced from vines that grow on the slopes and in the valley of the inactive volcano.
And for an excellent tasting, head towards Rionero in Vulture.
Now I tell you of Lagopesole and Pietragalla, for those who are passionate about the life of Frederick II. The Lagopesole Castle was one of the favorite hunting lodges by Federico II. The village is still surrounded by woods and green areas as well as a beautiful body of water.
What to do in Italy : Potenza and Maratea
Surrounded by mountains, the beating heart of the city of Potenza is via Pretoria, the shopping street and the evening promenade. For you tourists is called via Pretoria but for citizens it is more known as “above Potenza”, being a road that rises at the highest point of the city.
And for sportsmen? Riding the bike and off, up the mountains that surround Potenza. Do not forget the camera to capture the green of the woods and the views that you will see between one rock and another.
It will take almost two hours by car to get to Maratea but it will be absolutely worth it.
Nicknamed “the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea“, Maratea has a splendid coastline and even more beautiful historical monuments.
The main and most famous attraction is undoubtedly “Il Cristo Redentore” (Christ the Redeemer” that stands imposing with its 22 meters of height that declaire it the highest statue of Italy; the landscape is unique and at sunset even more impressive.
Do not miss the famous sanctuary of San Biagio, saint patron of the city!
With its 44 churches that call it “the city of 44 churches“, in Maratea of historic sanctuaries, ancient churches and basilicas to visit, you will be spoiled for choice.
What to do in Italy: Campomaggiore and the Lucanian Dolomites
Here re-echoes the fascinating story of the shattered dream of Count Teodoro Rendina, who had to deal with reality and come back down to earth.
It was in 1741 that the count decided to repopulate the small village of Campomaggiore. Rendina has an ambitious idea in mind: building a country in which poverty does not exist. Then establishes rules: every farmer who moves to Campomaggiore is entitled to a batch of 5 meters by 5 to build a house in addition to the timber to be cut with only one obligation: for each plant felled the farmer must plant three fruit trees. His idea is successful and in a few years the small town of Basilicata repopulates, arriving in 1885 to 1524 habitants. A success, which soon however is forced to deal with nature. On 10 February 1885 a huge landslide destroyed the village of Campomaggiore. Fortunately, there are no victims, as the farmers have had time to leave the country. An inevitable tragedy: the village was in fact built on a marshy area.
Basilicata also offers this! Towards Pietrapertosa-Castelmezzano, you will find wonderful villages set among the rock, real pearls that you can not miss! Here you will enjoy pure air, beautiful excursions or simple walks that will enrich your soul.
For the bravest and daring, very famous in Castelmezzano is the spectacular “flight of the Angel”, a real flight suspended by a steel cable that, flying over valleys and cliffs at about 120 km / h, will land you in Pietrapertosa (or vice versa) in an emotion that you will never forget, completely feeding a massive dose of adrenaline!
The same is for the “ponte nepalese” which connects this two towns through a bridge that you can only cross tied to a rope and no more than fifteen people at a time.If you did it and now you are in Pietrapertosa … well, a walk in the delightful village and a good meal will make you come back down to earth.
What to do in Italy :The Pollino Park and Senise
Adult and child love it, I’m telling about the largest natural park in Italy with a surface of 192,000 hectares, rich in animal species and plants. From ski resorts to hiking trails, from quad biking to mountain biking … the Pollino National Park has everything and for all tastes!
During our holidays in Italy, in the path of Basilicata On the Road, Senise must be one of our stage. From the village do not miss the ethnographic museum, the church of S. Francesco and the ancient castle. But Senise is famous above all for the Monte Cotugno dam, one of the largest clay works in Europe, which by braking the river Sinni creates an artificial lake that will leave you speechless.
Before leaving the town do not miss the famous Senise crispy pepper. Walking through the country lanes you will see them hanging on several balconies, left there to dry so that they can be used for an infinite delicious dishes.
What to do in Italy : Calangues
We are in our trip by “Basilicata on the Road and we have to discover the territory of the Calanques.
Fruit of the slow erosion of its characteristic clay soils, here you will enjoy the beauty of real natural formations that with the beautiful villages that surround them and of which they are part, create a unique landscape.
Among the most beautiful villages in Italy we speak of Pisticci, then go to the center of the Regional Reserve of Cangues, Montalbano Jonico, and then reach Tursi, full of ancient monuments in a beautiful landscape.
Now we can get to Aliano, famous for the confinement during the fascism of Carlo Levi who in his book “Christ stopped at Eboli” described a glimpse of a Matera that for the time became, unfortunately , the symbol of backwardness of Southern Italy (I will tell you this story further down).
What to do in Italy : Ionian Coast
Seaside in Basilicata
From Metaponto onwards, an expanse of 30 km of golden beaches, blue sea and plenty of sun will captivate you and giving you moments of well-deserved rest.
This area, however, is also rich in archaeological finds of extreme beauty dating back to the Greek age.
Between Metaponto and Policoro, you can admire the artistic beauty of ancient Magna Graecia.
You will have before your eyes the theater, the Roman castro, the city agora, the necropolis, the temples of Apollo Licio, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hera … and then reach the most famous temple and beloved to me (our wedding’s photos has taken here!): the “Tavole Palatine”.
What to do in Italy: Matera
Capital of European culture 2019
We started from the north-east of Basilicata with our car rented on RentalCars.com, we turned around in this region in an anti-clockwise direction and now we arrive here, in the elected capital city of European culture 2019.
I chose Matera as last stop because for me of all this trip, Matera represents the purpose. It’s like a race and the arrival was this magnificent city, because after seeing it you do not need to see anything else.
They will be the most famous stones in the world, it will be because it’s so beautiful as to be chosen by many directors as the scenography of their films, will be the good wine, the art of cooking, or the friendly people and the life that proceeds at a constant pace but quiet that I like it so much. And it will also be because I consider it my second home … but Matera is awesome.
I wanted to talk about it in this article but now it has become a bit long; but if you click HERE I will tell you about this city that is conquering every year, a millions of tourists who come from all over the world to admire its incredible beauty.
This post is also available in: Italiano