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Basilicata, also known as Lucania, is a region of Southern Italy.

Provinces[edit]

Basilicata is divided into two provinces:

  Matera (MT)
The world-famous "sassi" of Matera, the suggestive landscapes of Murge plateau and "calanchi" (badlands), the Ionian coast rich of Greek archaeological remains and beach resorts.
  Potenza (PZ)
The green heart of the region with two National Parks, the pictoresque town of Maratea on the Tyrrhenian Sea, medieval villages and castles, excellent wines and products.

Cities[edit]

  • 1 Potenza — The regional capital and the largest city, home of Basilicata National Archaeological Museum
  • 2 Irsina — One of the oldest towns, rich of religious architecture
  • 3 Maratea — The "pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea" also known as "the town with 44 churches"
  • 4 Matera — The town of "Sassi" (UNESCO World Heritage), declared European Capital of Culture for 2019
  • 5 Melfi — Norman age center of the Vulture Area with the Castle of Emperor Frederick II
  • 6 Policoro — Beach resort on the Ionian Sea, with a National Archaeological Museum
  • 7 Venosa — One of "Italy's most beautiful villages", birthplace of Horace with an important archaeological site

Other destinations[edit]

The ghost town of Craco
  • 1 Barile — Small village that preserves its Greek-Albanian origins
  • 2 Craco — Fascinating ghost town, set of numerous films such as The Passion of The Christ
  • 3 Lagopesole — Small medieval village located on a hill and dominated by the silhouette of a Norman castle
  • 4 Metaponto — Resort on the Ionian Sea with the amazing remains of the Temple of Hera
  • 5 Rapolla — Renowned center of winery production and spa
  • 6 Senise — Beautiful and well preserved medieval town with an incredible variety of typical local dishes

Understand[edit]

As a visitor, you'll find that Basilicata has much to offer. There's an abundance of religious, historical, and cultural attractions, fantastic seaside tourism opportunities, and great cultural opportunities. As is the case throughout Southern Italy, the pace of life is slow and relaxed. Still, with so many exciting things to do, Basilicata is a wonderful destination for a quiet getaway or a weekend adventure.

Etymology[edit]

The exact origin of the word "Basilicata" is unclear. It is possible that it comes from a Greek word, "basilikos" (Greek: βασιλικός).

At some point in its history, Basilicata was known as Lucania .

History[edit]

Modern history[edit]

Throughout much of the 1940s, Basilicata was an impoverished, poorly developed region. The region suffered from great poverty, there was a dearth of food, illiteracy was common, and suffered from high child mortality rates. Many residents had no access to water or electricity and there was widespread discontent. Alcide De Gasperi, Italy's prime minister at the time, once slammed the slums of Matera as a "national disgrace".

It wasn't until the 1950s that things began to change for the better. With money pouring in from the Marshall Plan, Alcide De Gasperi then embarked on an aggressive, controversial campaign to rapidly develop the region. In the years to follow, Matera became the region's most well-known city and in 2019 it became the European Capital of Culture.

Even though the region has great tourism potential, it is one of the least visited, least developed, and least populated areas in Italy; the region has some of the highest poverty and migration rates in Italy, and the fact that the local government doesn't do much to promote the region means that most tourists who visit Italy don't know about what all this beautiful region has to offer. This aside, the Lucanians are quite friendly and helpful and are happy with what they have.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Bari-Palese International Airport (BRI IATA) is 64 km distant from Matera and is linked to the town by the regional bus company COTRAB. This airport is the best choice to reach the eastern-Ionian area of Basilicata, while Naples International Airport (NAP IATA) is the best option to exploring the western-Tyrrhenian area of the region. The Autolinee Liscio bus company provides linking from the Naples International Airport to the regional capital Potenza (170 km) in about two hours.

By train[edit]

A train of Ferrovie Appulo Lucane arriving at Potenza Inferiore station

It is possible to reach Potenza from Rome in about 5 hours with one change at Salerno station, using the trains of the national operator. Ferrovie Appulo Lucane is a regional operator that provides connections from Potenza and Matera to Bari, but the trip can be quite long and sometimes uncomfortable since the service is far from efficient.

By car[edit]

Three autostrade (toll roads) can be used to reach Basilicata from other parts of Italy:

  • A2Motorway of the Mediterranean Sea, links Salerno to Reggio Calabria passing through the area of the Pollino National Park (southern part of the region). It has a ramification that directly connects Potenza to Salerno
  • A14Adriatic Motorway, links Bologna to Taranto passing near Matera and Metaponto
  • A16Motorway of the Two Seas, links Naples to Canosa passing near Melfi and the Vulture area

For more information you can check the website of Autostrade per l'Italia.

Get around[edit]

Strade statali (trunk roads) can be used for reaching internal destinations or the surrounding regions:

  • Strada Statale 106 Italia.svgJonica, links Reggio di Calabria to Taranto through Basilicata Ionic coast
  • Strada Statale 407 Italia.svgBasentana, links Potenza to Metaponto
  • Strada Statale 598 Italia.svgFondo di Valle d'Agri, links Atena Lucana to Scanzano Jonico through Val d'Agri area
  • Strada Statale 655 Italia.svgBradanica, links Foggia to Matera
  • Strada Statale 658 Italia.svg — links Potenza to Melfi

See[edit]

Archaeological sites[edit]

Remains of the Temple of Hera, Metaponto
  • Grumento Nova — Archeological park of the Roman city of Grumentum.
  • Metaponto — Well preserved remains of the ancient Greek city of '.
  • Rupestrian Churches of Matera — A high number of troglodyte churches excavated in the rock during the early Middle Ages (UNESCO World Heritage).
  • Policoro — Remains of the Greek city of Herakleia.
  • Venosa — Paleolithic park of Notarchirico, remains of the Roman city of ' and.

Castles[edit]

The Norman Castle of Melfi

Museums[edit]

Greek pottery in the National museum of Siritide

Nature reserves[edit]

Mount Pollino (2.248 m)
Lake of Pantano, Pignola

Approximately the 30% of Basilicata's total area is occupied by nature reserves. Here are the most relevant ones:

Check for a detailed map of Basilicata's natural protected areas: [5]

Villages[edit]

The village of Castelmezzano

Do[edit]

Mount Vulture, in the northern part of the region

Eat[edit]

Peperoni cruschi

The cuisine of Basilicata is deeply anchored in peasant traditions. Its typical traits are a large use of stale bread crumbs as a condiment and chili and horseradish as spices. Basilicata is widely known for the peperoni cruschi (crunchy peppers), nicknamed "The red gold of Basilicata", a dry and sweet-flavoured variety that can be found in most regional dishes or even consumed as a chip. It is the dried form of the Peperone di Senise, one of the most popular Italian varieties. Basilicata is also renowned for Pane di Matera (Matera Bread), Lucanica sausage, cheeses like Pecorino di Filiano and Canestrato di Moliterno and Fragola Cadonga, a variety of strawberry cultivated in the Metaponto plain.

Some of the most characteristic dishes include:

  • Pasta con i peperoni cruschi — pasta dish with peperoni cruschi and fried bread crumb
  • Tumact me tulez — pasta dish with tomato, anchovy, bread crumb and walnuts
  • Fusilli con pezzente e rafano — pasta dish seasoned with a ragù sauce made from pezzente salami and horseradish
  • Gnummareddi — Sheep or goat's offal rolled in bowels
  • Grattonato — Sheep's offal with eggs, pecorino cheese and peperoni cruschi powder
  • Baccalà a ciauredda — a fish dish made from stockfish, tomato, onion, olives and raisins
  • Rafanata — baked frittata with horseradish and Pecorino cheese
  • Pastizz — baked turnover with pork meat, eggs and cheese
  • Calzoncelli — fried or baked pastries filled with a cream of almonds and chocolate
  • Scorzette — baked pastries made from egg white, hazelnuts and melted chocolate

Drink[edit]

Aglianico del Vulture
  • Aglianico del Vulture — a world-famous DOCG red wine produced in the Vulture area
  • Amaro Lucano — a herbal liqueur usually used as an apéritif or digestif
  • Sempre Freddo — a liqueur made from a mixture of the Aglianico wine, black cherry and vanilla
  • Birra Morena — a multi-awarded beer

Stay safe[edit]

The region is one of the safest in the country. Pickpocketing and violent crimes are extremely rare.

Go next[edit]


This region travel guide to Basilicata is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!