Basilicata or Lucania has often been overlooked but today it is suddenly finding itself at the forefront of sustainable tourism. Consult our latest Basilicata travel articles below.
There are different historical takes to the origins of Maratea, but the two most probable are these. Firstly, the ancient city dates back to the the VIII century AD when the Greek founders established a base at the top of the mountain of San Biagio.
Secondly, Maratea is the ancient city of Blanda, an important Christian centre which disappeared during the VIII century AD. The most probable explanation is that the first inhabitants of Maratea joined with those from Blanda to form one united population.
We enjoyed a tortiglioni pasta dish in Maratea. As you can see the pasta was of two different colour and the sauce was made of mussels with tomatoes.
500 gr. tortigioni pasta, 6 decilitres of tomatoe puree, 80 grams of rucola (type of salad), 1 clove of garlic, 5 spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil, 50 grams of grated parmesan cheese, freshly ground salt and pepper (to taste).
As the name suggests this dish should be eaten on Easter Day. More specifically in the morning. An omelette in Italian is called a 'frittata', but if you are making one with 30 eggs you might want to call it something else!
500gr asparagus points, 200gr fresh sausage, 30 eggs, 200gr cheese, salt, extra virgin olive oil, pizza bianca.
Saint Biagio is celebrated on the 3rd February every year with a festival known as the 'benedizione della gola' or 'blessing of the throat'. Why so? Well, the Saint is famous for having saved a boy from choking on a fish bone during their incarceration. Over time this act has become representative of his powers to cure all types of throat ailments and his growing cult.
Saint Biagio was Vescovo of the Armenian city of Sebaste in 4th century AD during the reigns of the Roman Emperor of the East, Licinio, and his rival from the West, Costantine. As a Christian, he was persecuted then imprisoned by the former to suffer nine days of unbearable torture only to be then thrown mercilessly into a lake. He survived, but was subsequently beheaded.
Besides chestnuts, Melfi is famous for its Norman castle and thanks to its presence allowed Melfi to be a political and administrative capital for many years. The castle was originally built in 1042 by Guglielmo d'Altavilla who became Count of Puglia.
When the Normans eventually decided Salerno was more in keeping with their lifestyle, Melfi lost its importance for ever, except for a brief and splendid moment when Frederick II set up court there.
By all accounts Aglianico del Vulture is a fairly decent wine. It is produced in the zone of Monte Vulture on the slopes of a very extinct volcano. This gives it a particular personality. The area comprises 5000 hectares and 15 comuni from Venosa, Atella and Banzi to Genzano di Lucania, Melfi and Rionero in Vulture.
The Aglianico vine was introduced into the region by the Greeks around the VI century BC. Its name is a corruption of Ellenico and was used by the Romans to enhance one of their own favorite wines, the Falerno. Little did we know that 40% of the Aglianico production is sold outside of the region and is used to improve many different wines, including Chianti.
If you stick to certified Italian beef, you can't go wrong and ever since the mad cow scare there's plenty of labelling on Italian food products in shops and supermarkets. What this has done has focused attention on Italy's native cattle breeds and it's safe to say that the beef of Lucania and the south is truly worth discovering.
In Basilicata, the common breed is called Podolica and is a direct descendent of the 'Bos Primigenius' imported by the barbarians on their way to Rome in classical times.
The Madonna Della Bruna refers to the Byzantine relic which is paraded every 2nd of July is the festival for this patron saint of Matera. The event begins at the crack of dawn when the local shepherds parade through the old quarters of the town. Originally, they would collect their fellow workers as they went and the procession acted as a kind of social wake up call.
Perhaps the oldest festival in Italy takes place in Accettura. It is so old it predates the classical era by at least a 1000 years.
Its origins go back to the dawn of human consciousness and derive from the belief that trees are living beings and are, therefore, able to come together in the act of love.
This coupling guarantees a fruitful harvest at the end of the growing season. And so it is with this annual festival taking place in the last week of May.
The male is called the 'maggio', a tall oak selected and chopped down from the nearby woods.
The female is the 'cima' or top of a holly tree cut in such a way as to leave an abundance of branches. A bush, if we may say so.
The two are carried about the town with lively enthusiasm until they are ceremoniously united.