Are you planning your holidays in Southern Italy, but want something new? Basilicata is perfect for you.
Basilicata is quite a small but incredibly charming region in the South of Italy. Still not affected by mass tourism, it is a real hidden treasure chest. The ancient name of the region, Lucania, is still used nowadays and it comes from the pre-roman people who inhabited the area. Handicraft and food&wine culture are related to the peasant and pastoral heritage of the region. If you visit Basilicata, you will have a real journey back in time.
Surrounded by a beautiful countryside, Matera is the capital city and it is a marvel of architecture and history, perched on the top of a hill. The first settlements in this area date back to prehistory, and the area has been inhabited all over the centuries turning the city into what we can see nowadays.
Matera’s main characteristics are the ancient casa grotta (cave-houses), small houses dug into the soft limestone of the hill, on two or three levels quite deep underground. In 1950, the ancient cave-houses were still inhabited by people, without electricity, plumbing or running water. Carlo Levi in his book “Christ stopped at Eboli”, published in 1945, described the inhuman conditions of the people living there. This started a process that in 1952 led the government to declare these houses uninhabitable, move the tenants into proper houses and proceed with the rehabilitation. Today the cave-houses have been turned into museums, restaurants, shops and luxury hotels with spa. During your holiday in Basilicata you can take the chance to sleep in a cave hotel or have dinner in a cave restaurant. You can plan guided tours to Sassi di Matera, two districts of the city enlisted in the UNESCO world heritage list. Matera is so incredible, that has been awarded European capital of culture for 2019.
In the South-East of Basilicata you can find murgia materana, a karst plateau with hills reaching up to 600-700 meters above sea level, from which it is separated by the deep gravina (sort of canyon). The view of the harsh and wild murgia from Matera is incredibly suggestive. You can book a walking tour in Basilicata to reach the edge of the gravina and get the view of Matera from the hills. No wonder that this area has been chosen as set for several movies, just to mention one, Gibson’s “The passion”. Trekking tours in Basilicata will allow you to discover the area with a full-day itinerary or just a few-hour trip in the wild outback of South of Italy. You can decide if you want to undertake a self-guided tour in Basilicata or join a guided tour from Matera. Plan a bike tour near Matera, or horseback tours in Basilicata to live unique emotions and discover unforgettable landscapes.
Just one hour driving from Matera, you get to the highest mountains in Basilicata, the Dolomiti lucane, so-called for the shape of the peaks that recall the more famous chains of Dolomites. It is heaven for mountain outdoor activities: you can book a local guide for a guided tour in the Southern Dolomites, or plan self-guided tours in Dolomiti Lucane to experience the area by yourself, in all safety. In this area you can find the first Italian and deepest European zip line, that will allow you to slide, for a total of almost 3000 meters, between two mountain tops over the deep valley. It is called volo dell’angelo (angel’s flight) and will give a thrilling view over the Southern Dolomites.
If this adrenaline activity is not your cup of tea, you should not give up on visiting this area, where you can enjoy other more relaxing activities, surrounded but the magic landscape and the local genuine culture and food&wine traditions. You can visit enchanting small mountain villages in Basilicata such as Castelmezzano, enlisted among the most beautiful villages in Italy. You can relax in an authentic country house in Basilicata in the charming countryside. This is the land of local wildlife and herds, like the Podolica Cow, whose milk is perfect to produce the local cheese caciocavallo.
But it’s not only mountains, Basilicata beaches are just as amazing as Apulia or Sicily beaches. Basilicata overlooks two seas, Ionian and Tyrrhenian, and you can find the best beaches of Southern Italy. On the Ionian side, the coast is characterized by long and wide sand beaches, and from the presence of towns of ancient Greek origin, like Metaponto, where you can do an archaeological tour in Basilicata. The Tyrrhenian coast is rocky, with a series of high cliffs, small inlets, promontories, and islets surrounded by unspoiled mountains. This is the perfect place for snorkelling and diving in Italy.
And as if this is not enough, the region offers other amazing natural and historical wonders, like the area of “calanchi”, geological formations that recall the Badlands of USA. Plan your tours to calanchi in Basilicata, or take a tour to a ghost town, like the amazing Craco, and much more…
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Things to do in Basilicata
Package tours in Basilicata
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