Basilicata borders on Campania to the west, Apulia to the north and to the east, Calabria to the south. It extends over a surface of 10.000 square kilometres whose 70% are mountains, 20% are hills and 10% are plains. It is divided into 2 provinces - Potenza and Matera, e 131 municipalities. The Regional Administrative Centre is Potenza.

Basilicata, lodged between Apulia, Campania and Calabria, can be defined as the "heart" of Southern Italy. Its 10,000 square kilometres contain a region which still preserves an unpolluted environment and an unaltered human, historic and archaeological heritage. The climate of this region, where west and south-eastely winds blow, is mild in winter and warm and bright in summer. Thirty kilometres of clean sandy shores stretch along the Ionian sea. In the past, they offered a safe landing place for Greek populations in search of new lands to colonize. On the other coast, Maratea shines in a small, suggestive and beautiful bay; it has been defined "the Tirrenian pearl". Inland, on Piarfaona snows at Viggiano and in Sirino area, well-equipped ski slopes attract people fond of winter sports, while Pollino National Park, with the Pine and Monticchio lakes on mount Vulture, represents a real green "lung" for nature lovers, mountain rambling and outdoor life. At Latronico, on Mount Alpi lower slopes, there are thermal baths with magnesium sulphate waters, recommended for skin diseases treatments. Lucanians are honest and hard-working people and preserve their traditions and values jealously. The travellers will never find bolted doors or inhospitality here. On the contrary, they are welcomed as the guests of honour. Basilicata, rich in popular traditions, still maintains the heritage of old pagan rituals - interwined with the Christian ones. The Turks' parade at Potenza (May 27th), the "Madonna Bruna" feast at Matera (July 2nd), the "May" of Accettura (Whit Sunday) and Patrons celebrations in each of the 129 Municipalities of Potenza and Matera provinces express and illustrate the deep-rooted religious feeling of Lucanian population.

Basilicata is rich in arts and culture. The towns, the monuments, the villages testify a past of splendour. Potenza's historical centre, an example of medioeval architecture, rebuilt after the 1980 earthquake, is one of the most interesting villages of Basilicata from an urbanistic point of view. Villages in the Vulture area, with its castles, remind one of distant ages. At Melfi the great Swabian emperor Frederick II issued the "Constitutiones" of his Reign here. Lagopesole Castle, an imposing Norman building, hosted the court during the hunting season. At Venosa, the native town of the great Latin poet Quinto Horace Flacco, the ruins of the Roman civitas - still today maintained in good condition - and the Jewish catacombs run through the medieval city. Also, the imposing Trinity Abbey and Pirro Del Balzo's sixteenth-century castle, that today hosts the Museum, are worth a visit. Another imposing building is the Acerenza Cathedral, built according to the Cistercian architecture canons; this year is the Millennium celebration. Rivello, Nemoli and Trecchina, standing on rises in the Noce Valley, reveal suggestive corners characterized by loggias, portals, railing, narrow streets and the activity of flourishing craftsmen's shops. Some Pollino villages built in about 1500 by Albanian refugees are characteristic as well. At St. Constantine and St. Paul Albanias, people still speak the arbereshe. In the course of centuries the population has also maintained its oriental rites, customs and traditions. The "Sassi" of Matera, which draws it fame from Levi's book "Christ stopped at Eboli" and recently included in UNESCO's artistic patrimony, constitute a sight unique the world over. Houses excavated in the rock and enlarged with tufa, squares and little buildings line the narrow streets and staircases, creating the most successful example of rocky architecture. Beyond the Sassi circle of walls, a visit to the Cathedral is recommended; it dates back to 1200; the area also contains baroque churches and Neapolitan style castle that was built by order of Earl Giancarlo Tramontano. The Benedectine abbey, dedicated to the Archangel Michael is located at Montescaglioso. Tursi and Tricarico, while distant from one another, are characterized by the presence of the "Rabatana (quarters of Arabian origins). Valsinni is rich in culture: here it is possible to visit the Castle where the poetess Isabella Morra lived in the 1500s. Those who go to visit Basilicata cannot pass up the visits to the archaeological museums and parks which beat man's headway from the dawn of civilization. The Ridola Museum in Matera houses mostly Neolithic crockery and tools (axes, flintstones, vases). In Metaponto and Heraclea Museums, built near the archaeological parks of the homonymous cities, it is possible to admire Graecia Magna finds. The Lucanians, from whom the ancient name of the region - Lucania - is derived, left numerous finds around Tricarico and on the inside areas around Vaglio and Grumento. The peculiar composition of the Lucanian territory blocked the development of intensive and technologically advanced agriculture, except for Metaponto and Melfi areas. This helped Basilicata enogastronomic products to stay absolutely genuine, cultivated and treated according to tecniques handed down from generation to generation.

Lucanians gastronomy ranges from the alimentary pastas tradition (Potenza "strascinate", Tricarico "firzuli", Matera "orecchiette"), to the masterly production of pork sausages. Sausages, "capocolli", headcheeses and hams, besides the incomparable ewe's-milk cheeses and the delicacy of the "burrata" (little mozzarellas poached in cream and held in fresh cheese), go well together with mutton and goat's meat dishes, as well as roasted meat dishes or the famous "cutturidd", with vegetables like chicory, rocket salad or "lampascioni" (wild bitterish onions). And what about wines? The "Aglianico" is the best. It is produced by the generous volcanic land of Vulture and is perfect with roasted meat dishes and those requiring a slow stewpan cooking. As regards fruits, there is a wide choice. The Metapontino plains ensure the best of oranges, mandarins, strawberries and peaches, water-melons and melons besided exotic fruits like kiwies, babajos and fejoias destined for both the local and the international markets.

Truly, Basilicata is a land to be discovered entirely.

Press Office and P.R.
Basilicata Region