Basilicata, situated in the ‘Mezzogiorno’, an area in the south of Italy renowned for its stress-free lifestyle, guaranteed sunshine, deliciously fresh food and excellent wine.
Basilicata covers an area of 9,995 square kilometres but has a population of only 600,000 making it one of the least populated areas of Italy. Campania and Naples lie to the north west, Puglia to the north east and Calabria to the south.
Basilicata has two provinces; Potenza & Matera.
Basilicata’s capital is Potenza which is located in the northwest of the region. The other major town of Matera is well known as the site of the ‘Sassi’ cave dwellings. The region was a very poor one in ancient times with disease rife ad many lived in poverty.But since then, a lot of money has been invested in the region. The environment is clean, the houses are all well appointed, the shops plentiful and well stocked, and the infrastructure superior to many other parts of Italy. The town of Maratea on the Tyrrhenian side of Basilicata is a popular, upmarket holiday destination for many Italians.
The region is largely unspoilt and shepherds still stand at the roadside all day long, watching their flocks in the sunshine, while herds of goats and long-horned cattle roam idly down the country roads, sometimes only accompanied by dogs. It is an area where local culture and traditions have remained unchanged over centuries and where the people are intensely proud of their history and independence.
The Basilicata countryside is very rich in natural beauty, and is surrounded by three National Parks: The Cilento, the Pollino and the Sila. These parks contain vast areas of unspoilt forest and spectacular views across the mountains where wolves, eagles and wild cats are plentiful. There are facilities for white water rafting, horse riding and trekking and a ski slope on Mount Sirino which is open during the winter months. The region lies between two coasts, the Ionian side of the Basilicata coast is to the east, which is largely flat and uninteresting, and the Tyrrhenian side of the Basilicata coast is to the west, and is extremely beautiful even by Italian standards. The whole area is full of restaurants and Agriturismos, offering delicious local food and wine at ridiculously low prices as well as a comfortable bed for the night.
We are running some group tours though this region, and after travelling there ourselves in 2015 it is highly recommended for food & wine travelers.