Basilicata is a region with a lot of hidden gems and the fascinating city Matera with the popular Sassi.
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Basilicta in 20 seconds
Basilicata boasts plenty of small, charming and “warm” villages. Matera, the UNESCO acclaimed city, is without a doubt the most famous city as well as the largest attraction in Basilicata. It achieves this in part due to the old cave town, Sassi, which is indescribably beautiful, breathtaking and magical. It is situated at the foot of the new and modern town area.
Besides Matera, Basilicata offers other attractions such as the city of Melfi, which is an old and almost abandoned medieval city, and where you find the world famous Norman castle. Venosa, Castelmezzano and the coast of Mareta should also be mentioned as MUST SEE locations.
Holiday in Basilicata
Many cities in Basilicata are situated quite high above sea level, which means that the nights can be cool, even during summer.
We find a great example of this in the capital of the region, Potenza, which is located more than 800 meters above sea level. When it becomes scorching hot during the summer, the temperatures peak at around 25 degrees celsius, which in many other regions of Italy would be considered a relatively mild spring day.
Down by the Ionian Sea you find the wonderful coastal cities of Policoro and Metaponto, which offer wide beaches with both gravel and sand, that are surrounded by forests which provide fresh and crisp air.
Matera is probably most famous for the cave dwellings in the historic Sassi district. The homes have been carved into the cliffs, and were occupied up until the 1960’s. The district of Sassi then saw a significant renovation project, and tourists truly started realizing the unique history of the city, once it made it onto the UNESCO heritage list in 1993.
One of the most beautiful villages in all of Italy
It is always lovely to read about an Italian city, I hope, because this is actually what we work with, and we hope it helps you prepare for your trip to Italy. As for Castelmezzano, as we start the tour to the city it can feel slightly complex, with the journey taking us deep into the hills and mountains of Basilicata.
This is where we start to progress at a significantly slower pace, compared to the last 70 kilometers we have just driven. Here the landscape begins to rise, and it just keeps on rising. You even have to cross a bridge which in my view is not deemed worthy for cars. But I made my way past the bridge, and finally saw Castelmezzano which is situated on the mountainside.
The largest attraction by far is the location in the Dolomiti Lucane mountains. Here you can see the different colored houses on the mountainside from a distance, as well as get a good sense of the southern Italian atmosphere inside the city itself.
The city is also the destination for the “flight” between Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano, which we also have an article about, further up on this page.
But let’s make our way around to the church of Santa Maria dell’Olmo, which is located in the middle of the historic city center. The church has been built with local stones emulating the Roman style. Once you are inside you will be presented with frescoes depicting San Rocco who protected the city. There’s also a wooden statue of Madonna dell’Olmo, which was made some time in the 1200’s, and there’s also a tapestry depicting the “holy family”, which was painted by the local artist Giovanni De Gregorio.
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