11 Best Things to Do in Basilicata

What is Basilicata Most Famous For?

    The mountainous region of Basilicata is teeming with mediaeval castles, ancient architecture, coastal resorts, and charming hilltop villages. Giving you plenty of sightseeing opportunities, its rich history dates back to the Stone Age, with traces of Romanesque, Byzantine, Benedictine, Norman, and Swabian architecture. 

    Nature reserves and national parks are plentiful in Basilicata, where you get to enjoy activities such as hiking, horseback riding, camping, and spotting rare wildlife. Our guide to the best things to do in Basilicata is suitable for just about any traveller, whether you’re a history buff looking to explore ancient monuments and limestone caves to a self-proclaimed foodie who wants to indulge in Italian wines and delicacies. 

    What are the best things to do in Basilicata?

    1

    Explore Sassi di Matera

    See beautiful frescos of religious figures at Sassi di Matera’s cave churches

    Sassi di Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Basilicata, where you can find many businesses, homes, hotels and rupestrian churches that are set within limestone caves. This hillside town has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic era, making it one of the world’s longest-occupied cave systems. If you’re visiting Sassi di Matera in early July, check out its annual Festa della Bruna which commemorates patron saint Madonna della Bruna. This week-long celebration starts on 2nd July, with colourful parades, market stalls, and marching bands filling the streets of Matera from dawn until midnight. 

    Location: Matera 75100, Province of Matera

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo
    2

    Must-See: Melfi Castle

    Check out ancient artefacts dating back to 2nd century at Melfi Castle

    Melfi is a quaint town that was once the Norman Capital of Southern Italy. Surrounded by a Norman city wall, it’s set within the province of Potenza and has some of the most beautiful cave cathedrals and Roman structures in Basilicata. Melfi Castle is a medieval-style structure that was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Federico II of Svevia. It houses the National Archaeological Museum of Melfi, where you can see exhibits of valuable artefacts, including a sarcophagus dating back to the 2nd century. 

    Location: Via Normanni, 85025 Melfi

    Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 9am to 8pm, Monday from 2pm to 8pm

    Phone: +39 972 238 726

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    photo by Michele Perillo (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    3

    Take a Photo of Cristo Redentor

    Enjoy expansive views of Maratea and its surroundings at the viewpoint

    Cristo Redentor (The Statue of Christ the Redeemer) is located in the coastal town of Maratea in Basilicata. The statue is set on Monte San Biagio and stands at over 21 metres tall, making it one of the tallest sculptures of Jesus Christ in Europe. It’s the work of Florentine sculptor Bruno Innocenti, who used a mix of Cararra marble and cement. There’s a viewpoint at the base of Cristo Redentor, which gives you a beautiful view of Maratea and the Tyrrenhian Coastline. 

    Location: Maratea, Borgo Castello - Top of Monte San Biagio

    Open: Daily from 06:00 to midnight

    • History
    • Photo
    4

    Wine-tasting at Basilicata’s Wine Cellars

    Sample Italian wines at Basillica’s many cellars

    Basilicata is the producer of Aglianico del Vulture, a tannic, full bodied red wine that is famed throughout Italy. Set between Apulia and Calabria, the wine region of Vulture – Melfese is filled with expansive grape vines and reputable wine cellars that are worth visiting if you’re looking to enjoy a day of wine-tasting during your holiday. Basilicata also has an annual festival dedicated to Aglianico wine which takes place every September in several castles within the region. One of the region’s most popular wine estates, Cantine del Notaio has thriving vineyards spanning 263,000 sq m and 17th-century wine cellars.

    Location: Indirizzo, Via Roma, 159 - 85028 Rionero in Vulture

    Open: Monday - Saturday from 9am to 1pm & 5pm to 8pm (bookings required on Sunday)

    Phone: +39 972 723 689

    • Couples
    • Food
    • Luxury
    5

    Il Borgo (Maratea Old Town)

    Visit Maratea’s Basilica of San Biagio and the Cristo Redentor statue

    Il Borgo is Maratea’s historical district, where you can find more than 40 churches and buildings dating back to the 13th century. Set on the slopes of Monte San Biagio, this charming town has 2 main squares called Piazza Vitolo and Piazza Buragli. Its narrow alleyways are lined with plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as shops selling souvenirs and regional specialities. If you’re in Basilicata between late July and early August, the city’s prestigious Maratea Film Festival offers a week of movie screenings, premieres, debates, and award ceremonies celebrating prominent filmmakers and actors. 

    Location: Maratea, ‎85046 Basilicata

    • History
    • Budget

    photo by AlexanderVanLoon (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Ride the Volo dell’Angelo

    Fly across Basilicata’s mountain range on this exhilarating ride

    Volo dell’Angelo (Ange Flightl) is a thrilling ride in Basilicata, where you get to glide across 2 mountain peaks at high speed. Set in Potenza, it’s popular amongst those craving for an adrenaline rush, as they’re suspended on a steel cable at altitudes of up to 400 metres above sea level. Offering breathtaking views of the Lucanian Dolomites, departure stations for Volo dell’Angelo are located in the hilltop villages of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. Ticket prices start from €35 for solo riders and €60 for couples. Note that solo rides are permitted only if you’re over the age of 16. 

    Location: Via Maestri del Lavoro, 19, 85100 Potenza

    Open: Wednesday – Monday from 9am to 6pm (closed on Monday)

    Phone: +39 971 986 020 or +39 971 983 110

    • Unusual
    7

    Hike Monte Pollino at Pollino National Park

    Visit the Albanian communities in the villages of San Paolo and San Constantino Albanese

    Pollino National Park is the largest in Italy, giving you plenty of opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, sightseeing, and exploring charming towns dating back between 15th and the 17th centuries. Officially recognised in 1993, the national park is known for housing a variety of wildlife such as wildcats, otters, wolves, boars, and roe deer. Experienced hikers can enjoy panoramic views of Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts when climbing the Monte Pollino summit, which stands at over 2,200 metres above sea level. Quaint towns can be found here, including San Paolo and San Constantino Albanese. Both house Albanian communities practising daily lifestyles and traditions dating back to the 16th century.

    Location: 40km east of Maratea, Italy

    • Photo

    photo by Vinc81 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Must-See: Metaponto Archaeological Park & Museum

    Explore ancient Greek monuments and buildings in this archaeological site

    The Metaponto Archaeological Park & Museum is where you can explore various monuments, temples, and artefacts of the ancient Greek colony of Metaponto. Its archaeological site features ruins of buildings such as Doric Greek temples constructed between 570BC and 530BC which are dedicated to Athena, Apolo, Aphrodite, Hera, and Demeter. The museum displays weapons, jewellery, and shields that are made during the Bronze Age, as well as beautiful handicrafts and Italian-Mycenaean ceramics. 

    Location: Via Aristea, 21, 75012 Metaponto MT

    Open: Tuesday - Sunday from 9am to 8pm, Monday from 2pm to 8pm

    Phone: +39 835 745 327

    • History

    photo by Σπάρτακος (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    Enjoy the sunny weather on the Ionian Coast

    Soak up the sun and enjoy fun activities on this expansive coastline

    The Ionian Coast is a 30-km-long stretch of beach facing the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the historical districts of Metaponto and Policoro. Both feature seaside promenades and expansive beaches with clean waters, attracting travellers from all over the world in the summer. Some of the most popular things to do on the Ionian Coast include sunbathing, snorkelling, wind surfing, and jet skiing. There are also plenty of notable landmarks in each district. Metaponto is home to the Metaponto Archaeological Park, while Policoro has a turtle sanctuary and the WWF Nature Reserve.

    Location: 51 km southeast of Sassi di Matera

    • Couples
    • Families

    photo by Mateola (CC BY 3.0) modified

    10

    Try Lucanica with Fresh Pasta

    Visit Enoteca La Farmacia dei Sani for some of the best pork sausages in Basilicata

    Lucanica is basically a type of pork sausage that originates from Basilicata. Its origins date back to the ancient Roman times and is named after the province’s former name. The sausage is traditionally made by combining ground pork shoulder meat with lots of fennel seeds, salt and pepper. After encasing the meat in a coil of pork intestine, it’s left to cure for approximately 20 days. Many marketplaces sell lucanica by the metre, and the best way to enjoy it is with a plate of fresh pasta or risotto. Located in Maratea, Enoteca La Farmacia dei Sani is a charming store that has been selling quality lucanica, cured meats, cheese, wines, and peppers since the 1950s. 

    Location: Via Cavour, 10 Maratea, Potenza, Basilicata

    Open: Daily from 9am to 6pm

    Phone: +39 973 876 148

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Food
    11

    Must-See: The Crypt of Original Sin

    See ancient cave drawings dating back to the 8th century

    The Crypt of the Original Sin is deep within a Palaeolithic-era cave on Basilicata’s Murgia Plateau. Its walls are decorated with frescos depicting biblical icons such as God the Creator, Light and Darkness, Adam and Eve, the Archangels, Apostles John, Peter and Andrew, and the Virgin Mary. Also called The Sistine Chapel of Rupestrian Art, the cave paintings date back to the early 8th century, featuring a mix of Byzantine and Late-Romanesque art. You can only visit the Crypt of Original Sin by guided tour, which costs about €10 and includes a 20-minute audio guide in English, Italian, German, and French.

    Location: Azienda Agricola F.lli Dragone, Contrada Petrapenta, Strada Provinciale Fondo Valle del Bradano sulla SS7 Appia

    Open: Tuesday - Sunday from 9am to 7pm

    Phone: +39 3203 345 323

    • History
    • Unusual

    photo by Mattis (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveler

    Start planning your trip

    Maps