The "instep" between Calabria and Puglia, Basilicata is a mountanous region where the Apennines drop off into the Gulf of Taranto.


Panorama of Sassi of Matera

The Sassi (Caves)

Some originally made in paleolithic times, the Sassi di Matera cliff dwellings (divided into the Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano) formed the backdrop for The Passion of the Christ, among other films; while most of the good restaurants and hotels are in Sasso Barisano, it's well worth a hike over the hill to check out the more characteristic Caveoso side.  Check out some of the rock churches such as Madonna de Idris.  In the Caveoso district, on Vico Solitario, there is a house set up to show what living conditions were like in the earlier days.

Hiking the Ancient Caves

The Parco della Murgia Matera (or "Park of the Rupestrian Churches"), which extends to Montescaglioso, contains older caves dating back to Paleolithic times, some of which have been turned into churches; this is the part of Matera that is in many films.  Parts of the park also have excellent views over the "Gravina" (Ravine) to the main town of Matera.

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Central Basilicata

Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano

Medieval villages selected as some of the "most beautiful towns in Italy" near the Dolomiti Lucane (Lucanian Dolomites) in the Regional Park of Gallipoli Cognato.  These towns are more or less on the way between Naples & Matera or Puglia.

The largest national park in Italy, this includes the peak of Monte Pollino (2248m); part of it extends into northern Calabria


Capital of Basilicata; not much of tourist interest but conveniently on the way between Naples and Matera or Puglia (although you might want to continue further to Pietrapertosa or Castelmezzano, see above...or to Vaglio Basilicata, see below)

Vaglio Basilicata

A cute hill town just past Potenza; houses the Museum of the People of Lucania

Tyrrhenian Coast

A tiny slice of Basilicata is on the West coast, between Campania (in the southern Cilento) and Calabria


A seaside resort town with cliffs dividing up various neighborhoods, "as beautiful as the Amalfi coast, but without the traffic" says one traveller; convenient stop if going to/from Calabria or Sicily.

Ionian Coast

The Ionian Sea is on the "instep" of Italy's boot; most of the Ionian Coast is in Puglia (extending up to Taranto) and Calabria, but tucked between them is a small slice of Basilicata.