“It sounds like a cliché but I fell in love, with the food, the landscape, the bright blue sky and amazing sunshine,” said Martine. After hearing of the beauty of Basilicata’s food and wine, she googled it, up popped Tursi, and that was it. Plans for a cookery school had to be put on hold though when her backer pulled out. Now, she has one self-catering apartment and is renovating two more, with the optional add-on of bespoke cookery lessons based on healthy, fresh, seasonal food. While the old village tumbles down to a featureless town below, Tursi is capped by the 9th-century village of Rabatana, best known today for the haunting, romantic poetry of Albino Pierro. Empty houses and a ruined medieval castle testify to the fact that it’s all but abandoned except for 20 inhabitants and an unlikely grand hotel, the Palazzo dei Poeti, a potential location for the clientèle Martine aims to lure to Tursi when the cookery school is fully up and running.
Basilicata: a gourmet pilgrimage to southern Italy