A land worth discovering between the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian sea
Basilicata is a land with a mysterious charm that envelopes the tourists with an ancient and suggestive atmosphere, the beauty of its unique and extraordinary landscapes, the thousand-year old history full of testimonies, its ancestral traditions and the genuine simplicity of the local gastronomy with the typical mediterranean flavours. The hinterland is mainly mountainous with peaks that surpass 2.000 meters altitudes: east of the mountains there are low hills, while south-west of the mountains the landscape is flat and borders with the coastlines of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian sea with their golden-sand wide beaches. Basilicata is a warm, hospitable and charming region full of tourist attractions. It is still little-known by the global public but extremely interesting from many points of view, starting with nature. In fact, there are about eleven protected areas: two national parks (Pollino and Val d'Agri), two regional parks (Natural Park of Gallipoli Cognato-Piccole Dolomiti Lucane and Archeological Historical and Natural Park of the rocky churches of Matera) and seven natural regional reserves. Tourism is based on: history and culture in the cities of the "Magna Grecia" (Metaponto, Policoro, Nova Siri), the roman cities (Venosa, Grumentum), the medieval cities (Melfi, Miglionico, Tricarico, Valsinni) and the Sassi di Matera, full of evidences of prehistoric and rural civilizations; sea localities of the Tyrrhenian coast (Maratea) and the Ionian coast (Metaponto, Pisticci, Scanzano Jonico, Policoro, Rotondella, Nova Siri); excursions on the mountains in the National park of the Pollino, the National park of Val d'Agri, the Dolomiti Lucane, the Monticchio lakes and other apennine areas.
Among the most famous events in Basilicata there is the Carnival, opened by the hypnotic regular sound of the cowbells on the 17th January, the day dedicated to the celebration of Sant'Antonio Abate. San Mauro Forte's cowbells, Tricarico's masks, the Carnival of Cirigliano and Aliano in the province of Matera, and the "romita"'s tradition in Satriano di Lucania are the most famous traditional carnivalesque events. In San Mauro Forte, from the 15th to the 17th January, groups of masked people with hoods and white gowns start the ritual: they walk, hunched forwards, through the streets shaking the cowbells and playing the ancient local drum (called "cupa cupa"). Both the masks and the herds of cows walk around the church for three times to ask for protection to the relics of Sant'Antonio (preserved in the church).