The Basilicata, located at the instep of Italy’s geographic “boot”, is one of the country’s smaller regions, one of its least-densely populated, most mountainous, and most often overlooked. But within its 3,869 square miles (slightly under 10,000 square km) are:
a UNESCO World Heritage site (Matera)
Italy’s largest national park (Parco Nazionale del Pollino)
the longest escalator-and-pedestrian mobility system in Europe (in Potenza)
two of Italy’s unique 40 alberghi diffusi (multi-structure hotels, one in Potenza province, the other in Matera province)
a world-class wine (Aglianico del Vulture)
and modern accoutrements dear to the most demanding visitor.
All of which are enhanced by the warmth and cordiality of the Lucanesi (the Italian name for residents of Basilicata, because it was known as Lucania in Roman times). The name Basilicata may derive from basilikos — the Byzantine official in charge of administrating the region during Greek rule. Or the name may refer to the Basilica of Acerenza, which held judicial power in the Middle Ages. Whatever their name, the locals embody the best of southern Italian sentiment with an economic performance more associated with the north (the region’s employment rate and GDP are both higher than the average for the south).
Basilicata, Italy: a Tiny Treasure of Passion and Peppers