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The Southwestern Basilicata region is a hidden treasure in the South of Italy, shaped by its natural resources, forests, rural paths, ancient villages, and a pristine coastal landscape. On holiday in Southwestern Basilicata, you can relax by the beach, play sports at the Pollino National Park, or simply sit back and enjoy the scenery.

The area has 175,000 inhabitants divided into 56 municipalities. It’s one of the most authentic rural regions of Italy, from the Tyrrhenian coast with the stunning seaside village of Maratea to the wonderful park of Pollino with its rare species. Basilicata is also known by its ancient name Lucania.

Bookable Slow Trips experiences

Take your time and browse through our Slow Trips experiences in Southwestern Basilicata

Everyday culture in Southwestern Basilicata

Coming to Southwestern Basilicata means discovering 27 small villages that perfectly blend into the surrounding landscape. Each village has a peculiar history, with medieval, byzantine and Arbëreshë influences. The landscape is varied, from the Tyrrhenian coastal area to the mountains of the two natural parks — the “Appennino Lucano - Val d’agri - Lagonegrese” National Park and the Pollino National Park.
Both sacred and profane traditions are related to the region’s natural resources. You can find picturesque sanctuaries in the middle of the forest or on the peaks of the mountains, as well as ancestral rites, such as the so-called “Marriage of the Trees” festival. Living in Southwestern Basilicata means being surrounded by pristine nature, slow rhythms, natural sounds and genuine food. Food is a social value, and the area boasts unique products and homemade dishes.

A walk in the park

Pollino National Park wows with stunning peaks and lush forests.

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A walk in the park

Born as a Regional Park in 1985, the Pollino National Park was established as a conservation area in 1989. It straddles the Calabria and Basilicata regions and occupies 192,565 hectares.

The park offers beautiful natural scenery with stunning peaks, lush forests, and some of the most varied and interesting flora of Southern Italy. The main characteristic of the area is its vegetal variety, with landscapes ranging from Mediterranean scrub to beech woods, from high altitude prairies with gentian and asphodel blooms to forests of turkey oak, downy oak and the so-called “farnetto”.

Because of the great variety and quantity of medicinal herbs available in the territory, it is thought that the name of the Pollino massif derives from Apollo, the Greek god of health.

Discover the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian

The Pearl of the Tyrrhenian is a stunning coastal village called Maratea.

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Discover the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian

Maratea is one of the most most beautiful seaside villages in Southern Italy. Founded in the Bronze Age, it’s situated on the slopes of Mount San Biagio, overlooking the Gulf of Policastro.

The village alone has a record number of 44 churches! It features six coastal watchtowers, a picturesque harbour and the “Grotta delle Meraviglie”, the Cave of Wonders.

Maratea is also famous for the statue of Christ the Redeemer, realised in Carrara marble on the top of Mount St. Biagio. It’s the third tallest statue of Jesus in Europe and the fifth tallest in the world. It is 21.20 metres high, the head is 3 metres in height, and the arm-span is 19 metres from fingertip to fingertip.

More information: Maratea Municipality

The sweet and crunchy peppers of Basilicata

Dried in the sun, strung up in reddish-purple garlands, these Senise peppers decorate the alleys of historic town centres and embellish typical Lucanian dishes.

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The sweet and crunchy peppers of Basilicata

Dried in the sun, strung up in reddish-purple garlands, these Senise peppers decorate the alleys of historic town centres and embellish typical Lucanian dishes.

The “peperoni cruschi di Senise” are products of Protected Geographical Indication (Indicazione Geografica Protetta). In the local dialect, they’re called “cruschi”, meaning “crunchy”. The unmistakable crunchiness is obtained by carefully drying the peppers in the sun in long garlands called “nzerte”. The pepper garlands can be found hanging from balconies, decorating the alleys of the ancient villages of Basilicata.

With their sweetish flavour, the peperoni cruschi di Senise are ideal for appetisers, and in first and second courses alike. Cruschi are often associated with “strascinati”, a popular pasta shape in Southern Italy, served simply with a sprinkling of salted ricotta cheese or with the typical “baccalà”, a dried and salted cod. They’re also delicious just fried with egg and sausage.

In August, during the sacred “days of the Senise pepper”, you can taste the crunchy peppers in a variety of culinary inventions which let this product shine.

More information: Facebook Fanpage

A pine tree that looks like ancient Roman armour

This particular pine can be found only in the Balkans and in Italy, more specifically, in the Calabrian-Lucanian Apennine region.

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A pine tree that looks like ancient Roman armour

The Pinus heldreichii, also known as Pinus leucodermis, is typical for the habitats chosen for protection by the EU programme Natura 2000. This particular pine can be found only in the Balkans and in Italy, more specifically only in the Calabrian-Lucanian Apennine region, around the Pollino National Park area. The Pinus heldreichii was chosen as the symbol of Pollino National Park.

The pine present in this area is a thick tree whose branches usually form a sort of flag to protect themselves from the whipping winds. This species is particularly adaptable to cold and arid environments. In younger specimens, the cortex is smooth. Meanwhile, in the older ones, it’s split into trapezoidal plates that make it look like they’re covered in Ancient Roman armour, hence the Italian name “pino loricato” (“lorica” being a Latin word referring to body armour).

The branches show scars caused by falling needles, which, due to their peculiar rhomboidal shape, give the branches a sort of “marbled” effect, as if they were a snake’s skin. The main feature of the pino loricato, however, is its ability to adapt to the coldest environments on the highest peaks, where it took refuge in order not to succumb to the beech, which prevails at lower altitudes.

Older pino loricato trees are especially eye-catching with their wraithlike silhouette. They’re technically dead but remain standing thanks to the cortex’s resin, which protects the trees from decomposition.

More information: Pino Loricato

Get ready to discover the perks of Southwestern Basilicata

Ancient roads, cosy villages, stunning nature and exceptional traditional cuisine — Southwestern Basilicata really has it all. It’s a great place to take a break from your routine and explore more unconventional places.

For further information about Southwestern Basilicata, please check our websites:

www.lacittadelladelsapere.it
www.basilicataturistica.it