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Basilicata is a region that’s stayed relatively unexplored compared to Italy’s big-name destinations. Down in southern Italy, sharing a border with Puglia, this rural, agricultural region is characterised by rolling mountain landscapes crowned with historic hilltop towns.
The region is a fascinating place to explore for visitors interested in off-the-beaten-track Italy, with beautiful scenery to hike and a patchwork of sights for history buffs to seek out.
Former capital Matera is a must-see; it’s best known for a village-like sprawl of sassi, neighbourhoods of pre-historic stone houses believed to have been home to Italy’s first settlers around 9,000 years ago. These cave dwellings have experienced some modernisation in recent years, which has seen the sassi districts develop into small communities filled with shops, hotels and restaurants. Added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2003, they’re certainly some of the most unique places to stay in the country.
Flights to Basilicata arrive into Bari (BRI) from London Gatwick and London Stansted or Brindisi (BDS) from London Gatwick, London Stansted and Manchester and take approximately 3 hours. Please call our Italy Experts in order to book flights to Brindisi.
Situated in southern Italy, Basilicata has a typically Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers. The region enjoys around 300 days of sunshine a year, making May to September a popular time to visit, when temperatures often peak at 30 degrees. However, the cooler shoulder seasons are ideal if you’re planning on hiking, cycling and other active pursuits.
Basilicata is an agricultural region with strong wheat, olive and grape production. That means plenty of pastas and traditional large loaves of bread, as well as an abundance of olives, olive oil and wine like the DOC Aglianico del Vulture.
Soups and hearty sauces are popular in Basilicata, with many dishes featuring a classic base of garlic, olive oil and tomatoes, as well as meat like pork sausages, lamb and veal. Classic dishes include pasta with lu’ntruppc (meat and sausage sauce) and ragu.
Basilicata is one of the oldest regions in Italy, dating back to the Paleolithic era. The stone cave dwellings (sassi) located in former capital Matera are believed to have housed the country’s first inhabitants, and were honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. There’s evidence of Basilicata’s fascinating history across the region from its time under Greek, French, Arabian and Spanish rule, while ancient churches and architecture range from Byzantine and Benedictine to Romanesque in style.