Beautiful Basilicata. Exploring the region’s history and nature from Maratea to Scanzano Ionico

Friday, 07 January 2022 12:08

The itinerary starts in Maratea, the only part of ancient Lucania on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the southern region of Basilicata.

This beautiful town overlooks the Gulf of Policastro between the Campania and Calabria regions and has 32 kilometres of coastline with enchanting coves, fantastic beaches and the backdrop of imposing mountains.

lucania basilicataLucania

Ancient towns and natural areas

Moving inland we find Tramutola. Walking through the narrow streets of this old town you can admire the portals of the ancient noble palaces, many with small stone sculptures depicting women, a symbol of fertility. A few kilometers away Viggiano is in the natural area of the Lucanian Apennine Park, a delightful area of woodlands with a rich and varied fauna. Known as the City of Harps and Music Viggiano is the fulcrum of the ancient musical tradition of harp making.

aliano basilicataAliano

The town of the writer Carlo Levi

The next stop is Aliano, surrounded by the harsh and suggestive landscape of the calanchi gullies. Perched on a clay spur from which it dominates the Agri Valley and the Sauro torrent, Aliano is the place where the great writer Carlo Levi spent his period of confinement from 1935 to 1936. It is also famous for having inspired the most beautiful pages of his book Christ stopped at Eboli.

craco basilicataCraco

A ghost town to visit with a guide

Before reaching the Ionian coast, standing on a hill a few kilometers from Matera we come to Craco, which is immersed in the silence of the gullies and surrounded by an evocative landscape. Called the Ghost Town as it is uninhabited, it can only be visited on foot accompanied by a guide, and using the Craco Card, an entrance card issued by the local municipality.

The Ionian Sea’s golden beaches 

On the fertile and sunny Metapontine plain which is washed by the Ionian Sea, we fine Policoro whose name in ancient Greek means "spacious".  Today Policoro one of the largest and most important cities in the province of Matera. The National Sirtide Archaeological Museum, the Sanctuary of Demeter, the Temple of Dionysius and the golden beaches of the Ionian coast are just some of the must-does in this part of the region.

Citrus plantations and sea turtles

The last stop on our itinerary is Scanzano Ionico, the youngest municipality in the province of Matera. With its mild climate and fertile soil Scanzano Ionico is famous for its plantations of citrus fruits, kiwis and vegetables, and has been nicknamed Little Southern California. Along the coast the sand dunes with their Mediterranean scrub are a nesting place for the sea turtles that every year choose the pristine Ionian beaches to lay their eggs. 

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