12 Most Beautiful Places in Basilicata, Italy to Visit

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated November 27, 2023 tourism Dream Destinations
by Jem
Most Beautiful Places in Basilicata
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Are you thinking about visiting Basilicata, Italy this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Basilicata. These pretty sights and destinations will blow your mind.

Ah, Basilicata—Italy’s hidden gem that’s just waiting to be discovered! Tucked away in the southern part of the boot, this region is a treasure trove of natural wonders, ancient history, and vibrant culture. Forget the touristy crowds of Rome or Venice; Basilicata offers an authentic Italian experience that’s as rich as its olive groves and as deep as its azure coastlines.

Picture this: You’re wandering through the labyrinthine streets of Matera, a city so ancient it’s said to be one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements. The sun sets, casting a golden glow on the iconic Sassi cave dwellings that have been carved into the limestone hills. It’s a moment that feels like you’ve stepped back in time, yet it’s just one of the many awe-inspiring experiences that await you in this region.

But Basilicata isn’t just about history; it’s an adventurer’s paradise too. Imagine soaring through the sky on the world’s fastest zip line in Pietrapertosa, or hiking through the rugged terrains of the Lucanian Dolomites. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or someone in between, Basilicata has something to offer that will make your heart skip a beat.

So, pack your bags and set your GPS for the road less traveled. In this article, we’ll explore the most beautiful places in Basilicata, from its charming villages to its breathtaking landscapes. Trust me, by the end, you’ll be itching to book your next Italian getaway.

The most beautiful places in Basilicata right now
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The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Basilicata

Eager to discover the most mesmerizing spots in Basilicata? Located in the southern part of Italy, the region is a treasure trove of options. Read on to feast your eyes on the visual wonders of Basilicata.

Whether you’re enticed by vibrant cities and cultural gems or yearn for a peaceful retreat in nature, this beautiful city in Italy delivers. These are the must-see locations in Basilicata you’ll want to note.

1. Atella Paleolithic Park

Step into a world that takes you back thousands of years at Atella Paleolithic Park. This archaeological wonderland is one of the most beautiful places in Basilicata for history enthusiasts and curious minds alike. The park showcases remnants of prehistoric life, from ancient tools to fascinating rock art.

The trails here are an open-air museum, each turn revealing another layer of the past. It’s an ideal spot for families, offering educational tours that captivate both young and old. The guided walks are a hit, especially for kids who love interactive elements like fossil hunting.

What sets Atella Paleolithic Park apart is its commitment to preserving history while making it accessible to the modern visitor. It’s one of the best places to visit in Basilicata if you’re keen on combining outdoor activities with a dash of education. The park also hosts events throughout the year, including workshops and exhibitions, making it a dynamic destination.

Don’t miss the chance to explore this unique site. It’s one of those Basilicata destinations that offers a blend of learning and leisure, making your trip unforgettable.

Embark on a voyage through the ages at Atella Paleolithic Park, one of the most beautiful places in Basilicata
Embark on a voyage through the ages at Atella Paleolithic Park, one of the most beautiful places in Basilicata

2. Calciano

Amidst the small Lucanian Dolomites, Calciano is a haven for foodies and history buffs. This quaint village is one of the most beautiful places of Basilicata, offering a blend of culinary delights and historical landmarks. From ancient oil mills to mouthwatering local cuisine, Calciano is a feast for all senses.

The village is renowned for its olive oil, a staple in Italian kitchens. Don’t miss the chance to visit one of the local oil mills; it’s an experience that adds a unique flavor to your trip. Calciano’s olive oil is not just a cooking ingredient; it’s a cultural symbol, deeply rooted in the community’s history and traditions.

While the food scene is a major draw, Calciano also boasts stunning architecture. The churches and historical buildings dotting the landscape are a visual treat. It’s one of the prettiest places in Basilicata, where every corner seems like a scene from a postcard.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find Calciano equally appealing. The surrounding hills and trails offer numerous hiking and biking opportunities. It’s a Basilicata beauty that combines the charm of a small village with the adventure of the great outdoors.

Discover serenity in the heart of Calciano mountains, where each peak tells a tale of timelessness
Discover serenity in the heart of the Calciano mountains, where each peak tells a tale of timelessness

3. Castelmezzano

Perched high on a cliff and surrounded by lush forests, Castelmezzano offers a view that you’ll remember for a lifetime. This village is a Basilicata scenery masterpiece, where nature and architecture coalesce in the most poetic way. The jagged peaks of the Dolomites serve as a dramatic backdrop, making every photo an instant classic.

Adventure seekers, this is your playground. The “Flight of the Angel” zip line is a must-try, giving you the sensation of flying between the mountain peaks. It’s a must see in Basilicata for adrenaline junkies and casual thrill-seekers alike. The experience is exhilarating, and the views are unmatched.

While adventure is a big part of Castelmezzano’s allure, the village itself is a gem worth exploring. Wander through its narrow, cobblestone streets and you’ll encounter charming cafes, artisan shops, and friendly locals. It’s one of those places to see in Basilicata where each stroll feels like a new discovery.

Local cuisine is another highlight. From homemade pasta to locally sourced meats, the food here is a culinary journey in itself. Castelmezzano proves that it’s not just a destination for adventure; it’s also a gastronomic paradise.

A nighttime view of Castelmezzano mountains, bathed in moonlight
A nighttime view of Castelmezzano mountains, bathed in moonlight

4. Latronico

A paradise for wellness aficionados, Latronico is renowned worldwide for its mineral-rich therapeutic hot springs. It’s one of the most scenic locations in Basilicata, attracting global visitors to its famed thermal baths.

Begin your journey at the renowned thermal spa centers. These facilities offer a range of treatments, from mud baths to hydrotherapy. It’s a Basilicata destination that invites you to unwind and rejuvenate, all while soaking in the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

While the thermal baths are the main attraction, Latronico has more to offer. The town is home to several historical sites, including ancient churches and archaeological ruins. These landmarks add a layer of cultural richness to your visit, making it one of the best parts of Basilicata for those interested in history.

Food lovers will also find Latronico delightful. The town is famous for its local produce, including olives, cheeses, and wines. Make sure to visit a local market or dine in a traditional restaurant to savor the flavors of Basilicata.

Elevate your senses in the tranquil embrace of Latronico mountains
Elevate your senses in the tranquil embrace of the Latronico mountains

5. Maratea

Maratea is where the mountains meet the sea, offering a coastal experience unlike any other in Basilicata. With its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, Maratea is one of the most beautiful spots to visit in Basilicata. Whether you’re a beachcomber or a water sports enthusiast, the coastline provides a variety of activities to suit your interests.

The town itself is a labyrinth of narrow streets, filled with artisan shops and local eateries. Don’t miss the chance to sample the seafood; it’s some of the freshest you’ll find in Italy. This is a Basilicata beauty that combines the charm of seaside villas with the culinary delights of Southern Italy.

But the crown jewel of Maratea has to be the Statue of Christ the Redeemer. Towering over the town, this iconic landmark is accessible via a scenic drive or a challenging hike. Once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with panoramic views that make Maratea one of the prettiest places in Basilicata.

Water activities are abundant here, from snorkeling and scuba diving to sailing and kayaking. The marine life is vibrant, offering a colorful underwater world waiting to be explored. Maratea is not just a beach destination; it’s a marine sanctuary that promises an unforgettable experience.

Scenic landscape of Maratea, Italy, surrounded by mountains
Scenic landscape of Maratea, Italy, surrounded by mountains

6. Matera

A city where the old and the new harmoniously intertwine, Matera offers a captivating mix of history and contemporary life. Famous for its Sassi—cave dwellings carved into limestone hills—it’s among the most beautiful cities in Basilicata, Italy. These ancient homes provide a window into a history that spans millennia.

While the Sassi are undoubtedly the star attraction, Matera’s charm extends beyond its ancient architecture. The city is a hub of culture and art, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters. It’s a place to visit in Basilicata that offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from historical tours to contemporary art exhibitions.

Food is another highlight of any trip to Matera. The city’s culinary scene is a celebration of Basilicata’s rich agricultural heritage. From freshly baked breads to locally produced wines, every meal is a journey through the region’s diverse flavors. Matera is one of those Basilicata destinations where every bite tells a story.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also find plenty to do. The rugged landscape surrounding the city offers numerous hiking trails, each providing stunning views of the Sassi and the surrounding countryside. Matera is a destination that caters to a wide range of interests, making it a must-visit on any trip to Basilicata.

Discover the ancient charm of Matera, where history whispers through stone streets and timeless architecture
Discover the ancient charm of Matera, where history whispers through stone streets and timeless architecture

7. Metaponto

Metaponto is a paradise for history lovers and beachgoers alike. With its ancient ruins and golden sands, it’s one of the most beautiful places in Basilicata. The area is famous for its archaeological sites, including well-preserved Greek temples and an ancient theater.

Start your visit at the National Archaeological Museum of Metaponto. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts that tell the story of the area’s rich history. It’s a must-see in Basilicata for anyone interested in the ancient world. The exhibits range from pottery and sculptures to coins and jewelry, each piece a window into a bygone era.

The beaches of Metaponto are another major draw. The coastline is dotted with beach clubs and natural reserves, offering a variety of settings for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. It’s one of those places to see in Basilicata where you can switch from a history lesson to a beach day in a matter of minutes.

Local cuisine is a highlight here, with a focus on fresh seafood and traditional Italian dishes. Dining in Metaponto is an experience in itself, with many restaurants offering views of the sea or ancient ruins. It’s a destination that serves up a perfect blend of history, nature, and gastronomy.

Discover the allure of Metaponto, where history meets tranquility in every cobblestone
Discover the allure of Metaponto, where history meets tranquility in every cobblestone | Source: Σπάρτακος

8. Pietrapertosa

Elevate your travel experience in Pietrapertosa, a village that literally clings to the cliffs of the Lucanian Dolomites. Popular for its adrenaline-pumping “Flight of the Angel” zip line, Pietrapertosa is one of the top sights to visit in Basilicata for thrill-seekers. The zip line offers a bird’s-eye view of the stunning landscape, making it an unforgettable experience.

The village itself is a labyrinth of stone houses and narrow alleys, each corner revealing a new surprise. From artisan shops selling local crafts to cozy cafes offering delicious Italian coffee, Pietrapertosa is a Basilicata beauty that captures the essence of Italian village life.

While the zip line and the village are major attractions, the surrounding nature is equally compelling. The Lucanian Dolomites provide a perfect backdrop for outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. It’s one of those stunning locations in Basilicata where adventure and natural beauty go hand in hand.

Don’t leave without trying the local cuisine. Pietrapertosa offers a variety of dining options that showcase the flavors of Basilicata, from hearty pastas to delectable pastries. The food here is a culinary adventure, adding another layer of enjoyment to your visit.

A landscape of Pietrapertosa mountains, showcasing the majestic peaks against a clear blue sky
A landscape of Pietrapertosa mountains, showcasing the majestic peaks against a clear blue sky

9. Pisticci

A palette of vibrant hues comes to life in this town, where white-washed houses pop against lush green hills. Pisticci is one of Basilicata’s most beautiful escapes that offers a tranquil break from urban chaos. Famous for its ceramics, the town is dotted with shops that display these intricate works of art.

Art and culture are deeply embedded in Pisticci’s identity. The town is home to several art galleries and museums, each offering a unique perspective on the region’s history and culture. It’s a Basilicata, Italy destination that invites you to explore and appreciate the finer things in life.

While the town is a haven for art lovers, it also offers plenty of outdoor activities. The surrounding countryside is ideal for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. Pisticci is one of those places to visit in Basilicata where you can enjoy both cultural enrichment and outdoor adventure.

Local cuisine is another highlight, featuring traditional dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. From homemade pasta to freshly baked bread, dining in Pisticci is a culinary experience that complements the town’s artistic and natural attractions.

Experience the rustic charm of Pisticci, where time seems to stand still and every cobblestone tells a story
Experience the rustic charm of Pisticci, where time seems to stand still and every cobblestone tells a story

10. Pollino National Park

Pollino National Park is a sprawling natural wonder, covering over 1,900 square kilometers. It’s a Basilicata beauty that offers a diverse range of landscapes, from towering mountain peaks to lush forests. The park is a sanctuary for wildlife, home to species like the Italian wolf and golden eagle.

For those who love hiking, Pollino National Park is a dream come true. The park offers numerous trails that cater to all skill levels, each providing its own set of challenges and rewards. It’s one of the most scenic places in Basilicata, where every path leads to a breathtaking view.

While the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, it also offers cultural experiences. Several ancient villages are located within the park’s boundaries, each with its own unique history and traditions. Visiting these villages is like stepping back in time, making Pollino National Park one of the best places to visit in Basilicata for history buffs.

The park is also famous for its unique flora, including the rare Bosnian pine. These ancient trees add a mystical quality to the landscape, making your visit even more memorable. Whether you’re interested in hiking, wildlife spotting, or cultural exploration, Pollino National Park has something for everyone.

Discover the untamed beauty of Pollino National Park, where rugged landscapes meet pristine wilderness
Discover the untamed beauty of Pollino National Park, where rugged landscapes meet pristine wilderness

11. Potenza

A city that masterfully combines the old with the new, it’s a place where modern amenities and historical landmarks coexist. Potenza is the capital of Basilicata and one of its most beautiful urban centers. Serving as a hub for both commerce and culture, it’s a lively destination that attracts travelers from all walks of life.

Start your exploration at the National Archaeological Museum, which houses a rich collection of artifacts from the region’s past. It’s a must-see in Basilicata for anyone interested in history. The museum’s exhibits span from prehistoric times to the Roman era, offering a comprehensive look at the area’s heritage.

Shopping is another highlight in Potenza. The city’s main street, Via Pretoria, is lined with shops selling everything from high-end fashion to local crafts. It’s one of those places to visit in Basilicata where you can indulge in some retail therapy while soaking in the local culture.

Potenza is also a gateway to the surrounding natural beauty. Just a short drive from the city, you’ll find hiking trails, mountain vistas, and serene lakes. The city offers the best of both worlds, making it a versatile destination that caters to a wide range of interests.

 picturesque scene of Potenza Street, capturing its historic charm and cultural richness
picturesque scene of Potenza street, capturing its historic charm and cultural richness

12. The Sassi of Matera

The Sassi of Matera are a marvel of ancient architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As one of the most beautiful places to visit in Basilicata, Italy, these cave dwellings offer a glimpse into a past that stretches back thousands of years. Carved into the limestone cliffs, the Sassi are a labyrinth of homes, churches, and tunnels.

While the Sassi are undoubtedly Matera’s star attraction, they also serve as a backdrop for various cultural events. From art installations to music festivals, the Sassi are a Basilicata beauty that comes alive with creativity and innovation. It’s a place where history and modernity coexist in a fascinating blend.

Food and drink are integral to the Sassi experience. Many of the cave dwellings have been transformed into cozy restaurants and bars, offering a unique dining setting. It’s one of those Basilicata destinations where every meal feels like a journey through time.

The Sassi also offers various guided tours that take you through the history, architecture, and cultural significance of these ancient dwellings. Whether you’re exploring on your own or with a guide, the Sassi provides a captivating look into the soul of Basilicata.

Discover the timeless charm of The Sassi of Matera, where history whispers through ancient stone streets
Discover the timeless charm of The Sassi of Matera, where history whispers through ancient stone streets

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Basilicata                          

Looking to expand your knowledge about the most scenic spots in Basilicata? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best Basilicata attractions.

What is Basilicata best famous for?

Basilicata is famous for its diverse landscapes and rich history. From the ancient cave dwellings in Matera to the stunning beaches in Maratea, it’s a region that offers a wide range of experiences.

The area is also famous for its unique cuisine, featuring local ingredients like peppers, sausages, and a variety of cheeses. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do, from hiking in Pollino National Park to zip-lining in Pietrapertosa. It’s one of the prettiest places in Basilicata to experience both natural beauty and cultural richness.

What makes Basilicata unique?

What sets Basilicata apart is its untouched beauty and lesser-known attractions. Unlike other Italian regions that are full with tourists, Basilicata offers a more authentic experience. The region is home to some of the most beautiful places of Basilicata, including ancient villages, archaeological sites, and natural parks. Its diverse geography, from mountains to coastlines, makes it a unique destination for various outdoor activities. The local cuisine, deeply rooted in the region’s agricultural heritage, adds another layer of uniqueness to Basilicata.

Where should I start my trip in Basilicata?

Starting your trip in Potenza, the capital of Basilicata, is a wise choice. As the administrative and commercial hub of the region, Potenza offers a mix of modern amenities and historical landmarks. This makes it a versatile starting point for any travel itinerary in Basilicata.

From Potenza, you can easily access other key destinations like Matera, Maratea, and Pollino National Park. The city itself has a range of attractions, from museums to shopping streets, that provide a good introduction to the region’s culture and history. Overall, Potenza serves as a convenient and informative gateway to the stunning places in Basilicata that you’ll want to explore.

Why visit Basilicata?

Visiting Basilicata, a region in southern Italy, offers a unique and enriching experience for several reasons:

  1. Rich History and Culture: Basilicata is steeped in history, with ancient ruins, medieval castles, and churches. The region’s history spans from the Greek and Roman times through the Middle Ages to the present, offering a fascinating journey through time.
  2. Stunning Landscapes: The region is famous for its diverse and dramatic landscapes, from the rugged mountains and forests of the interior to the pristine beaches along its two coastlines on the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. The Pollino National Park, the largest national park in Italy, offers breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor activities.
  3. Matera: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Matera is famous for its ancient cave dwellings, known as “Sassi.” This city, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, provides a unique and unforgettable experience with its stunning architecture and historical significance.
  4. Authentic Italian Cuisine: Basilicata offers a rich culinary tradition with unique flavors and dishes. It’s popular for its hearty and rustic cuisine, including fresh pasta, bread, cheeses, and wines that are specific to the region.
  5. Less Touristed: Compared to other Italian regions like Tuscany or Lombardy, Basilicata is less crowded with tourists. This offers a more authentic Italian experience and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and lifestyle.
  6. Art and Festivals: The region has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating everything from religious processions to food and wine.
  7. Warm Hospitality: The people of Basilicata are known for their warmth and hospitality, making visitors feel welcome and adding to the overall experience of the trip.
A historic street in Basilicata, where the past comes alive with each step
A historic street in Basilicata, where the past comes alive with each step

What are the must-try foods in Basilicata?

Basilicata’s cuisine is a celebration of local flavors and traditional cooking methods. One of the must-try foods is Lucanian sausage, a flavorful pork sausage seasoned with fennel seeds and sometimes peperoncino.

Matera bread, made from durum wheat and boasting a unique texture, is another regional specialty. Don’t miss trying peperoni cruschi, sun-dried sweet peppers that are fried until crispy and served as a snack or garnish.

For pasta lovers, “strascinati” is a homemade pasta often served with a rich meat sauce. Finally, for dessert, consider indulging in “mostaccioli,” spiced cookies often made with almonds and chocolate. Each dish offers a culinary journey through the Basilicata scenery, making your visit a feast for both the eyes and the palate.

Does the region of Basilicata have beaches?

Yes, the region of Basilicata in Italy does have beaches. Although it’s more renowned for its inland historical sites and rugged landscapes, Basilicata also boasts a coastline along two seas:

  1. Ionian Coast: The eastern coast of Basilicata borders the Ionian Sea. This coastline is characterized by long, sandy beaches and clear waters. One of the most well-known beach areas on this coast is Metaponto, which is also famous for its ancient Greek ruins and historical significance.
  2. Tyrrhenian Coast: On the western side, Basilicata touches the Tyrrhenian Sea. This coastline is shorter but is famous for its picturesque beauty. The town of Maratea, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Tyrrhenian,” is particularly famous for its stunning coastal scenery, charming beaches, and clear blue waters. The coast here is more rugged and cliff-lined, offering dramatic views and cozy coves.

How many days do I need to explore Basilicata?

To fully immerse yourself in what this captivating region has to offer, a minimum of one week is recommended. This allows you ample time to explore the most beautiful places in Basilicata, from the ancient Sassi of Matera to the stunning landscapes of Pollino National Park.

A week-long stay also gives you the opportunity to delve into the local culture, try the regional cuisine, and perhaps even participate in local festivals or events. With a week at your disposal, you can create a balanced itinerary that includes both natural wonders and cultural landmarks, allowing for a comprehensive experience of Basilicata’s diverse attractions.

Is Basilicata good for family vacations?

Absolutely, Basilicata is an excellent destination for family vacations. The region offers a wide range of activities that are suitable for all age groups. From exploring ancient cave dwellings in Matera to enjoying beach activities in Maratea, there’s something for everyone.

Outdoor enthusiasts in the family will appreciate the hiking and adventure sports available in places like Pollino National Park.

For those interested in history and culture, the numerous museums and historical sites provide educational experiences. The local cuisine is also family-friendly, with a variety of options that even picky eaters will enjoy. Overall, Basilicata is a place to see that offers a balanced mix of adventure, relaxation, and educational opportunities, making it ideal for families.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Basilicata

Basilicata is a treasure trove of experiences, waiting to be discovered by those who venture off the beaten path. From the ancient allure of Matera’s Sassi to the adrenaline-pumping adventures in Pietrapertosa, this region offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, Basilicata has something to offer that will leave a lasting impression.

This guide has taken you through some of the most beautiful places to visit in Basilicata, each offering its own unique charm and attractions. But remember, the real beauty of Basilicata lies in its ability to surprise and delight you at every turn. So pack your bags, book your ticket to Italy, set your sights on this stunning Italian region, and prepare to be amazed by the diverse experiences that await.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through Basilicata. We hope this guide inspires you to explore this captivating region and discover Italy’s hidden gems. Safe travels!

The most beautiful places in Basilicata for all types of travelers
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