Much of the region is mountainous with long distances between the villages and towns. It's greatest treasures are the cities of Matera, which is a historical chapter in itself, and Venosa; small but fascinating.
Several of Basilicata's towns are more than 700 m above sea level making them relatively cool even on summer evenings. In fact, Basilicata is one of the coldest regions in Italy in the winter months. Basilicata's landscape is very varied and staying on the Ionic coast is very different to staying on the western coast, which is very rocky. The northern part of Basilicata is volcanic. Here the soil is more fertile and the area has plenty of medieval forts and castles.
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Like its neighbours, Basilicata has also been under the influence of many different nationalities and empires including the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Saracen and Norman. Remnants from these different eras can be found in several places in the region.
We offer accommodation in this region because it is an excellent located from which to explore Basilicata and also the surrounding regions of Apulia, Campania or Calabria.
Here you can enjoy hiking and biking on mountainous terrain, and many other outdoor pursuits. During your travels you could come across the impressive circular volcanic "Monticchio" lakes and also Sirino Lake. Furthermore Pollino Nature Reserve is Italy"s largest and it crosses between Basilicata and Calabria. This stunning area beckons to be explored and with its highest peak being 2200 metres above sea level, you can be sure to enjoy spectacular views along the way.
A few useful links for hiking and biking and other activities in Basilicata: The area has a good choice of hiking trails in and around the historic town and countryside of Matera. You can also find some great mountain biking routes in Basilicata. For zip lining, canopy tours and tree climbing in Basilicata head to the adventure parks of Pollino, Rivello, Luciana and Viggiano.
Potenza, the capital of Basilicata, is located higher than any other regional capital in Italy. It is approx. 820 m above sea level. Although the town has been subjected to many different cultures and nations most of the historic centre has been destroyed due to extensive earthquakes. However, there are still a number of monuments in the town worth a visit including the Roman villa, the cathedral and the church of San Francesco d'Assisi.
Matera is a picturesque town rich in history. It was primarily ruled by the Byzantines in the Middle Ages and then the Lombards, Saracens and Normans took control in succession. During the Norman rule Matera came under the direct influence of the king, which meant that the town blossomed in this period. The town has many interesting sights from various eras.
Rivello is a nice little town beautifully situated with superb views over the Noce valley.
Maratea - (should not be confused with Matera) is a lively seaside resort where fun-loving young people enjoy discos in the evening and enjoy lying side by side on the beautiful beaches with the towering San Biagio-mountain in the background during the daytime. The city also has much culture to offer, and therefore attracts people of all ages. With over 40 churches and many art and musical events during the summer months, there is plenty to do here.
Muro Lucano is a charming small town built at a height of approx. 600 m above sea level and commanding panoramic views over the valleys. The town has a very long history and Roman remains are in evidence.
Brienza is another charming small town situated in a magnificent area. It was at one time subject to Lombard rule and then ruled by the Normans.
Melfi is the main town in the Vulture region. It has a fantastic Norman castle. The construction of the town's cathedral was originally Norman, but it was later restored in the Baroque fashion.
Geographically, Basilicata has always been of strategic importance. Due to its location between three different seas and between east and west many nations and cultures have passed through. The German King and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in particular did his best to fortify and consolidate his position in the northern part of the region.
Evidence of the earlier Greek presence is found among the ruins of the Greek theatre and temples in Metaponto.
Basilicata is the only region in Italy that can boast about having two names. Basilicata is the official, while Lucania is more unknown. The region was called Basilicata for the first time in a document dating back to 1175, and probably originates from the name "Basiliskos" which was a Byzantine administrator.
Basilicata remains today as one of Italy's poorest regions, but it cannot be felt in the region's as the inhabitants are proud of what they have and that they have been able to maintain a life in this region for several generations.
The western coastline of Basilicata is about 70 miles long; it is rocky and ideal for those who want to swim from rocks, snorkel or dive. Small stretches of sandy beach can be found.
The Policastro Gulf lies just below southern Campania where the mountains meet the Tyrrhenian Sea causing a striking contrast. The southern coast alternates between sandy beaches and rocky stretches and where many of the beaches can only be reached by boat. Here are some of the regions most unspoilt cleanest beaches and clear seas.
For the best beaches head to Acquafredda, Fiumicello, Santavenere, Marina di Maratea and Maratea Castrocucco - all near the town of Maratea v. Policastro Gulf.
Since Basilicata is a mountainous region, scenic wonders are everywhere. Basilicata's wooded areas offer an abundance of flora and fauna, and the lakes Monticchio and Sirino are beautiful areas of natural beauty.
The Pollino National Park straddles both Calabria and Basilicata and is a stunning area reaching impressive heights of more than 2200 m. Forests, rivers and small lakes make a trip in this area a spectacular experience.
Much of Basilicata consists of unspoiled natural habitat. Pigs and sheep graze freely in the meadows and on the mountainside. On first impression the cuisine may appear a touch rustic but in fact it varies quite a bit, and each area adapts dishes to suit local produce.
An abundance of superb forest fruit like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, redcurrants and blueberries are found in the forest areas. Meat is also included in many of the region's traditional dishes. It is said that when Frederick II feasted he enjoyed spit-roasted meat, pheasants, hares, larches and local pigs from the woods.
Fish and seafood: In central parts of Basilicata, freshwater fish is available whereas along the coast the inclination is obviously more towards seafood.
Meat, game and poultry: Pork and lamb are popular in Basilicata and the forests have plenty of game including hare, deer and pheasants, which are also popular.
Sausages and ham: Among the best sausages and hams in Basilicata is Capicollo Lucano. It is made from pork seasoned with chili powder. Lucanica (made of pork) and the air-dried bacon Pancetta tesa lucana are also worth a mention as is the ham Prosciutto lucano made nearly 900 m above sea level which helps it mature perfectly.
Cheese: Two good cheeses are produced in Basilicata. One is made from cow's milk, Caciocavallo Podolico, and matured for a long time. The other is made from sheep's milk, Casieddu di Moliterno, and is wrapped in bracken leaves.
Sweets: Taralli is a type of biscuit with either almonds or chocolate.
Wine and vineyards: Who would have thought that Basilicata is home to a fantastic wine area called Monte Vulture? It produces excellent wines that in some places have achieved cult status. The grape is the wonderful Aglianico, which is also very popular in Campania.
The good producers of Aglianico di Vulture create top quality wines recognized internationally. They are still not widely available, but they have been very successful in the USA especially, and in the best restaurants across the world.
The best vineyards in Basilicata are Cantine del Notaio, Elena Fucci, Le Querce and Paternoster.