Basilicata or Lucania

Sassi di Matera – Photo © Clemensfranz commons.wikimedia.org

This is the only region in Italy that can boast two names Basilicata and Lucania. Basilicata, however, is the officially recognized one.

Basilicata is a land in which human and natural history have left important traces ever since it has emerged from the sea.

In ancient times it was known as Lucania. It was called Basilicata for the first time in a document dating from 1175, originating probably from the name ‘Basiliskos’, a Byzantine administrator.

The people Basilicata even today prefer to be called ‘Lucanians’ rather than ‘Basilischi’ or ‘Basilicatesi’, and Basilicata for years seemed to be the place where all the enormous problems of southern Italy were condensed.

Basilicata is washed by two seas, the Jonian to the south-east and the Tyrrhenian to the south-west, it is mountainous in the center with peaks rising above 2,000 meters, hilly to the east and with flatlands for a short way to the south-east.

Basilicata knows how to win people over whether their visit is a due to a question of simple curiosity or to their love of traveling over mountain tops and hills that offer breathtaking and unusual panoramas, or then again to the desire to visit cities packed with history or untouched seaside towns with never ending beaches of fine, golden sand where the Greeks landed in the VIII B.C. Basilicata is a land of strong contrasts and a sense of community harmony. It jealously safeguards its own identity where all the typical features of the rural have been conserved, and as if to create contrast even post-modern skyscrapers and bridges built to challenge the laws of gravity, like the one at Potenza, can be found.

Basilicata is not yet on the mayor traditional tourists routes, but it is appreciated by an elite of visitors for its good reception and for the many attractions it offers: health is the key in the natural spas of Rapolla, Terme La Calda and Terme di Ala and Latronico.

Nature can be found in the National Park of Pollino, in Gallipoli Cognato Forest, in the Lucanian Dolomites and in the Historical and Archaeological Natural Park of the Murgia and of the Rock Churches of Matera.

For those who delight in history, there are the museums of Potenza, Matera, Melfi, Venosa, Metaponto, Policoro, Castel Lagopesole and Irsina. Culture and tradition abound with the folk festivals and with the very important exhibitions in Matera and Maratea.

Food and gastronomy, offered by hordes of family restaurants, are the jewels of Lucanian hospitality and its cuisine. The beauty of its seaside is not to be forgotten in the clear waters of Maratea and in Metaponto, Pisticci, Scanzano Jonico, Policoro, Rotondella and Nova Siri.

Traveling in Basilicata still offers all the excitement of an adventure, a voyage of discovery into a past packed with history, the feeling of being one with untouched and breathtaking nature and there are also very hospitable people ready to give help and advise anytime it is needed.

Where to stay in Matera

Hotels, apartments, B&Bs and villas can be searched and reserved here.