If Calabria is Italy’s toe and Puglia its heel, then Basilicata is the elegant, intoxicating instep. Home to a magnificent legacy of architectural splendours reflecting its properous past, and peppered with breathtakingly beautiful coves and long, sandy bays, as well as a rugged, unspoiled mountain interior that makes for fabulous walking, Basilicata is one of Italy’s most rewarding yet unsung destinations.
With coastlines on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, Basilicata has been heavily influenced by visiting Greeks and Lombards, Byzantines and Normans, but has been relatively neglected by holidaying visitors in recent years. Sprinkled with a clutch of gorgeous beach resorts and hotels, the temptation in Basilicata is just to relax. However away from the beach the region offers huge rewards, with a rugged, remote sparsely populated interior with craggy, arid plateaux of pine and beech, terraces of chestnut and oaks, studded with sparkling lakes – it’s Italy from another time and age, with leafy, cobbled village squares where you could sip cappuccinos all day long, watching the ancient pace of village life play out around you.
Rich in archaeological relics, Basilicata has Greek ruins at Metaponto, while ruins of the Roman Age can be seen in Venosa. Mediaeval art also abounds, with the churches in Venosa and Cerenza particularly impressive. Architecturally, the region bears traces of many fascinating, contrasting influences, with Matera, Melfi and Lagopesole rich in Arab-Byzantine and French influences, while Neapolitan Baroque influences also abound.
Finally, wherever you venture in Basilicata, eating out is a hugely enjoyable aspect of local life. Here in this arid land, gastronomy is based on traditional, strong, sharp and sun-filled flavours, washed down with rich and full-bodied reds. Basilicata is an excellent destination for those who wish to discover fascinating architecture as well as to relax in beautiful surroundings.
In Matera, the 13th century cathedral houses the 12th century Madonna della Bruna, while Santa Maria di Idris has 13th century frescoes; also in Matera, visitors can see the “Sassi”, the typical houses and churches dug into the “tufa” crag; the May ‘chopping festival’, played out in villages right across the region; Sunday markets selling the region’s famous ceramics, as well as traditional foods such as spicy sausage and fresh game; the Antiquarium of Metaponto; breathtaking views from the summit of Monte Biagio above Maratea, crowned by a huge statue of Christ the Redeemer; Potenza has some beautiful Romanesque churches and a wonderful 12th cathedral, and is a fascinating regional capital, at 2,687ft above sea level, Italy’s highest; local cuisine, with Basilicata particularly known for strong, rustic flavours, such as roast kid with potatoes, peas and artichokes and provolone from Sila.
We include a hire-car with all our holidays in Basilicata.Getting around on the local trains is very economical and simple, while the local bus service, SITA, covers the majority of areas. Timetables can be picked up from local tourist offices, and in many smaller towns, bus tickets are sold in bars and tabaccherie. However, services can be limited out of hight season and on Sundays, so driving is an excellent option as roads are very good, if narrow and twisting in places.
By air: Daily flights to Naples with British Airways from London Gatwick. Airports at Lamezia Terme and Reggio di Calabria with flights with Alitalia London to Milan or Rome and then a connecting domestic flight. We can also offer you charter flights from UK regional airports to Naples. Easyjet also flies from Stansted to Naples. Ask us for a fare quote at the time of booking if you are interested in this route. You may collect and return the car from and to different locations at no additional cost, ideal for a two-centre holiday.
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CapitalRome AirportThere is a very good scattering of international airports in Italy, with the main ones being Venice, Pisa, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Turin and Bari; on Sicily, Catania is served by several airlines from the UK and on Sardinia you fly to Cagliari or Olbia.CurrencyEuro (£1 = Euro 1.30) SizeItaly is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide Population60 million Average temperatureItaly's temperature varies dramatically, from about 4 degrees in Turin in winter to 33 degrees in Sicily in summer, with snow year-round on the summits of the Pyrenees and Alps National holidays in Italy Some tourist attractions as well as banks etc may close on the following days: 1 January 6 January (Epiphany) Easter Monday 25 April (Liberation Day) 1 May (Labour Day) 15 August (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) 1 November (All Saints) 8 December (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Christmas Day Boxing Day There are a number of local feast days that can affect conditions locally. In addition to the above days, museums are often closed on Mondays in Italy.
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