BASILICATA, OR LUCANIA.
Basilicata, or Lucania, is a region of Southern Italy and one of Italy’s best kept secrets. With its peaceful and idyllic life,it is one of the ultimate “authentic old Italy”.
The origins of the word “Lucan” remain obscure. It seems, however, that the Lucanian name sounds in Greek Leukànoi and therefore arises in relation to the adjective leukòs, which means bright, luminous; the Latin name is instead Lucani which is related to the word lux, but simultaneously with the term lucus ‘forest’. The two interpretations are coherent, as lucus derives from lux and originally indicates not so much the forest as the luminous space in the wood, or the clearing.
Here you can experience a fascinating history dating back to prehistoric times; there are many treasures undiscovered by mass tourism in the regions remote hilltop towns and villages from ancient cave dwellings, and fortified ruins to Greek temples and beautiful frescos. Traces remain in the archaeological areas of Metaponto and Siris of Serra di Vaglio and Grumentum, in the historic centers and museums of Potenza, Venosa, Melfi, Matera and many other places.
The city of Matera is the region’s most famed city, known for the Sassi – cave dwellings carved out of the rocks that were inhabited until the mid 20th century – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some parts of the city are over 2000 years old, and its ancient, spiritual atmosphere made it the perfect setting for Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of The Christ”.
Basilicata has thriving culture with many traditions and lively festivals not to be missed all around the region, for example only: the Epiphany with Cucibocca in Montescaglioso, the Cowbells party in San Mauro Forte, the Carnivals in Tricarico and Ascoli Satriano, the Maggio di San Giuliano in Accettura, the Grancia Festival in Brindisi di Montagna, the wine parties around Vulture silent volcano, several Cutlural and Music Festivals and Saint Festivals.
The region has been described as a gastronomic melting pot with many local special dishes. From Matera’s traditional cornet shaped bread, to sweet “taralli” snacks or “Mischiglio” pasta; from Cruschi or Senise sweet pepper to Sarconi beans; from cured meat and cheeses to fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes. The contribution of volcanic material has made this region singularly fertile, also the region’s wines are highly praised also thanks to this volcanic soil in which the vines grow: Aglianico del Vulture DOP, Terre dell’Alta Val D’Agri DOP, Moro e Primitivo di Matera DOP.
Surrounding the towns are clusters of mountains, hills, canyons and valleys, creating and forming several spectacular Natural Parks that spread out over the region. There are lakes: those of Monticchio are volcanic originated; tHose of Pietra del Pertusillo, San Giuliano, Monte Cotugno, and Lake Camastra are dam originated. The shores of the Ionian sea and Tyrrhenian sea edge the region offering stunning blue seas, water sports and sea life, trough fjords, rocky coast, pebbles or white sand.
It provides a little something for everyone; for thrill seekers and adventurers, or those wanting to delve into culture, religion and history, or just those who love a relaxing holiday on the beach or surrounded by polite people and nature.
Lucania or Basilicata is waiting for you. And after having discovered her, you will also sing a tune in your mind:
Ba. Ba. Basilicata.
Ba. Ba. Basilicata.
What do you know about her?
Have you ever seen her?
Basilicata is on my mind.