One of three southernmost regions of Italy, Basilicata region encompasses a comprehensive spectrum of geographic wonders within its 10,000 square meters range. From highlands of Apennine peaks, Butrint and Pollino national parks, drift lines of Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas, and all the mystifying beauty in between-Basilicata covers it all.
Undoubtedly the most prominent feature of the region is the archeological town of Matera, featured in the movie “Passion of Christ”. Although Basilicata’s history embedded in Paleolithic to roman and renaissance era glories- sums the territory into a wonderful elixir of legacy.
While most of the region is covered under the reign of nature, abundant mountain ranges, lush forest and meadows are the source of enticement for many nature enthusiasts every year. Wine, cheese, spicy seafood and pasta, and Pasticcerie, or Italian confectionary is not missed in the Basilicata region. Visit the top 15 destinations in the Basilicata region and watch the blend of landscape and history through a Lucanian lens.
Raised high on the craggy cliffs of Basilicata’s west coast, the metropolis of Maratea is defined as the pearl of the Tyrrhenian sea. While posing as a chic coastal city and a desirable holiday destination. Urbanscape is adorned with many basilicas and historic structures; entitled as the city of 44 churches. Marble statue of Christ with open arms greets the visitors at the old town’s entrance.
Noted as the second-largest Christ figurine after Brazil, Christ the Redeemer is a masterpiece by Bruno Innocenti. Maratea is the clandestine retreat for the rich and famous. Complimented by waterfalls, springs, lush hillsides and grasslands, Maratea’s landscape is simply picturesque. Magical landscape comprise from high peaks and viewpoints, kilometers of white sand and pebble beaches to sea caves.
La Grotta Delle Meraviglie or the cavern of wonder is the only cave accessible on foot, the other paragon caves can be reached by scuba diving or a boat ride. Town’s historic center is pursued back to the 13th century and lined with craft stores, art exhibitions, and fabulous restaurants.
2. Dolomiti Lucane
Embracing Basento valley, Mountain areas of Lucani Dolomiti are named after their taller cousins “Dolomites” of the Italian Alps.
Trifling town of Pietrapertosa highlights the venerable castle of Saracen, fortified monastery of San Francesco, and enthralling views. Flight of the Angel is the name of a fast-track zip line on the high peaks near the antique castle. Known as one of the finest possessions of Basilicata, Castelmezzano village is a gothic construction, assembled in the most challenging location; a tunnel in the spirit of stone leads the way to a cluster of houses with a rocky background.
Rugged peaks of Piccolo Dolomiti behind the village have inspired many phrases to envision the spectators’ feel such as Beak of Owl or Golden Eagle. A costmary tradition in Castelmezzano celebrates the matrimony of trees as an inherited and living pagan ritual. Between Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano, a historic peasant path of two kilometers, known as the path of seven stones, is decorated with literary, visionary and exceptional landscape themes.
At the province of Matera, the luxurious city of Policoro dates back to six century BC. Tourists from Italy and around the world visit Policoro for its watersports and beach activities, and heavenly beaches for sunbathing and a dip in crystalline waters.
A popular destination for outdoor sports fans, a variety of adventure sports are offered in Policoro; from zip-lining, trekking, archery, horse riding or the simple pleasure of walking amid pine forest nature reserve. When it comes to marine life, Marine of Policoro is fertile in biodiversity; several rare species of turtles, dolphins and mesmerizing coral reefs in the underwater world.
Archaeological park and its adjacent museum exhibit artifacts belonging to Siris and Heracleia Greek colonies- as the metropolis’s first establishment.
4. Matera Caves and Rupestrian Churches
A sophisticated chain of rocks shapes the antique City of Matara; built in the rock’s heart since the Old Stone Age. While displaying magnificent architecture, the caves of Matera sheltered a deprived population; once titled as Italy’s shame, Sassi di Matera was announced as 2019 European capital of culture.
The labyrinths of courtyards, caves, and structures are divided into two archaeologically parts of Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso. Casa di Noha and the modern art museum are worth the visit, displaying Matera’s heritage. At the village’s center, hotels and restaurants present the visitors with modern amenities.
Carved into the volcanic rocks of Matera, rupestrian churches are the medieval vestiges and living abode of Lucani monks. For a cultural hike around the village, walk on the ancient paved path to Monastery of Santa Lucia and relish the sight of Apennine mountains and surrounding valleys.
5. Palombaro Lungo
Known as one of the largest ancient water reservoirs, an excellent cistern of Palombaro Lungo is extended beneath Piazza Veneto in Matera. The entire conserve with its supporting arch is engraved from an existing bedrock- in harmony with the ancient city’s style and precision of architecture.
Among Matera’s many captivating attractions, MUSMA is the world’s only cave museum and one of the country’s most significant exhibitions dedicated to sculptures dating from ancient roman colonies to the Renaissance era. Erected on Matera’s historic center, Aragonese castle of Tramontano is the legacy of 16th century Lord of Matera, Giovanni Carlo Tramontano. Belvedere paints the most beautiful images in the mind.
6. Ancient Site of Metaponto
Metaponto is noted as the most important archeological sight in the Basilicata region. Tracked back to 7 century BC, Greeks settled in the ancient Metaponto, and today goes by the name of Bernalda. Metaponto archeological park conceals the ancient Greek reliquaries and constructed masterworks of several temples, an antiquarium, theatre, and the agora.
Palatine Tables, referring to the temple of Goddess Hera, presenting as a 6th-century example of a Doric temple. Archeological museum at the park exhibits artifacts from an early era of humanity, iron and bronze ages, Greek relicts and other excavated items. Known at the Metaponto Marine coast of Bernalda town is bordered with prestigious beaches, resorts, and restaurants.
7. Archaeological Park of Grumentum
Described as the little Pompeii, Grumentum heritage park sits on the hills between the rivers Agri and Sciarra. The park parades the remains of an ancient Roman city dating back to 3rd century BC including; theater of the Augustan age, pagoda of Capitol, temple of the imperial cult, and a 1st century BC amphitheater.
Artifacts and excavated items from the ancient city is assembled and exhibited in the National Museum of the Val d’Agri. Neighboring to the ancient residence, Grumento Nova is a tiny village with characteristic cuisine and an enchanting urban structure. Stone lake of Pertusillo is just a delightful walk from an ancient site for a brief trip in the nature at the foot of Grumentum hill.
8. Ancient Roman City of Venosa
Inhabited since the early human in Europe, Basilicata has infinite heritage treasures to offer. Ancient Roman colony of Venusia settled at the skirts of Mountains, Vulture, and Melfese, in the northern Basilicata. Based on the city’s importance, remains of many archeological structures and emblems are scattered across the city.
The archeological park of Venusia embraces amphitheaters, temples, and remains of a Roman colony. Noted as the birthplace of the renowned Roman poet Horace, Casa di Horace marks his abode in his last years of life. Remarkable fountain of Angiolina, the church of Purgatorio is baroque edifices of Medieval Venosa, along with a fortress of Pirro del Balzo; built in the honor of a native duke. Today, the castle is visited for its interesting architecture and harbors the archeological museum of ancient Venusia.
Potenza is the capital city of the Basilicata region and, with an altitude of 891 meters, highstands as the highest regional capital in Italy. The city is a serene base camp for a few days’ rest and then, peeking into other destinations of the region. the city is the central connective route of buses, terrains and major landmarks.
Facing ravages of war and natural calamities, the urban sprawling has withered many of its prehistoric and cultural vestiges- although not completely. Built-in the 1st century, the cathedral is the city’s emblem of faith since the medieval ages. Vast collections of green and Roman pottery, jewelry and artifacts are displayed in Potenza’s archaeological Museum.
The urban structure is erected on a hill while connecting the streets with a network of stairs. Vasilica’s mouthwatering cuisine and a sip of the splendid wine- brewed from volcanic soil vineyards in vulture valley – are gastronomy attractions of Potenza.
10. Pollino National Park
Established as the country’s largest national park, the green wings of Pollino national park spread between Basilicata and Calabria regions. Sheltering a broad spectrum of flora and fauna, the national park is complimented with San Paolo and San Costantino Albanese villages- as vestiges of Albanian settlement between 15 to 17 centuries.
In the vicinity of hiking route Via del Brigante to Pollino Mountain, outlaw bandits controlled this field of Basilicata in the last century. The small town of Terranova is located inside the park and is renowned for the spectacular bosnian pines, dominating most of the wild territory. To enhance your cultural visit with a dose of adventure, kayaking, white-water rafting, and other watersports are presented on wild waters of the Lao river.
11. Latronico and Lucane Thermal Springs
Latronico at Potenza district is an ancient town bordered with tall peaks and valleys of Mt. Vulture and Pollino national park. Monumental structures and churches reflect the glorified past of the township. It features Arcieri Dynasty Palace and Gioia Palace in its historic center together with Basilica di Sant’Egidio Abate, church of San Nicola and the town’s main basilica, Santa Maria Delle Grazie.
Only a few minutes’ drive from Latronico, Lucane thermal springs provide healing waters, relaxing effects, and serene ambient adjoint. Thermal springs of Lucane are associated with the healing of several alignments. Spa resorts with various healing packages perform aromatherapy, therapeutic massage and hot spring immersion pools with professional care and effectiveness. Please note that using hot spring baths is round the year; because of Latronico’s geographical location, winters are cold and summers are considerably breezy and cool-temperature.
At Basilicata’s Vulture range, the township of Melfi is the borderline city with Apulia and Campania regions. With outstanding beauty of Mount Vulture foothills, the city is adorned with ancient structures, deep-rooted culture, delicious cuisine and some of Italy’s best wines. Dominating the city, Castle of Melfi is an 11 century Norman architecture and lived by King Charles II’s Spouse and further Aragonese kings.
Originally belonging to Norman order, Il Duomo was restored in baroque style, except for its original norman bell tower. Venosina Gate along with other gates and Norman walls are the 13th-century relicts of Melfi. Other noteworthy attractions include the Bishopric Palace, Rock-facade church of Santa Maria and an archeological museum with impressive ranges of artifacts from prehistoric, Samnite, roman and other tribes. The city houses the production of Vulture Wine and Vulture Olive Oil as an exquisite product and country’s pride.
A home to the popular south Italian liquor, Amaro Lucano, Pisticci sits between the basins of Basento and Cavone rivers. With strong roots in faith, churches are plentiful in Pisticci. In particular, Romanesque- Renaissance church of San Pietro and San Paolo, and the 11th-century abbey of Santa Maria la Sanita del Casale – built on the remains of a Roman house of worship.
Adorned with shades of Mediterranean shades of colors and picturesque landscape, Dirupo District is the historic landmark and ancient cave houses – resembling to Sassi di Matera. For a hike to the peak view of Pisticci, hike up to Tempa Petrolla at the northern side of the urban sprawling.
Atop the meadows at the banks of river Canove, sits the town of Craco on a high cliff with its characteristic look and Norman Tower. Traced back to Metaponto Greek settlement in 8th century BC, the drop-off cliff and lofty altitude position of the ancient town was chosen as a defensive strategy.
For its astonishing landscape, earthy shades of urban structure and historic architectural wonder, Craco has been featured in movies and TV series. At Craco Museum, visitors can purchase Craco Pass Card to access various historic parts including the museum’s exhibitions, the monastery of St. Peter and the historic center. Belvedere of the metropolis provides a unique perspective over the surrounding valleys extending over the horizon.
Marking the historic capital of Norman Sicilian Kingdom, the town of Montescaglioso is located amidst the Regional Park of the Murgia. Founded on the grounds of faith, the settlement was eventually built around Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo, dating back to the 11th century. The baroque Basilica of Santi Apostoli Pietro e Paolo decorated by Venetian artists, the church of San Stefano and the basilica of Madonna Delle Grazie are other noteworthy palaces to visit. Museo Nazionale Della Magna Grecia offers breathtaking exhibitions of Montescaglioso’s ancient roman era.
Matera Sassi area is vast, detailed and complex. It is advised to hire a guided tour to reveal all the backstories behind every inch of the stone treasure hub is recommended. Nearby Matera, the town of Tursi is worth a day journey to visit Sanctuary of Our Lady Queen, San Francesco Covent and Regional Reserve of Montalbano Jonico Badlands for discovering the unusual terrain of southern Italy.
Aliano is a less-traveled route with immense treasures within; a vast nature reserve known as Badlands of Aliano, historic House of Carlo Levi and monastery of Santa Maria Dell’Orsoleo.