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Beautiful strangerBASILICATA


Beautiful stranger

Article published in Motociclismo magazine in 2001 and Motoitalia magazine in 2007.

Basilicata is one of the smallest regions of the boot, third to last in terms of population, it is certainly little known to most people, outside the major routes of mass tourism.

This month we will go to its discovery along secondary roads, which from the capital Potenza, with a bet in the Diano valley, will lead us to Maratea, on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Read the story published in the Motocilcismo magazine.

Read the story published in the Motoitalia magazine.

Itinerary in Basilicata, I opt for the departure from Potenza which with its 819 m. above sea level it is the highest regional capital in Italy, and arrives in Maratea.

I had another doubt about the quality of the roads, but when I arrived in Potenza and took the ss 94, I must promptly change my mind. The asphalt appears more than decent, and after having skirted the motorway junction for the A3 for about ten kilometers, it moves away from it to take on all the characteristics of a scenic route, fun and very important, with very little traffic.

On the right runs Picerno dominated by a Norman tower, but very famous for the production of cured meats and sausages. And the fun continues until after Vietri di Potenza where we swoop down through beautiful beech woods.

But now the Vallo di Diano awaits us. At the junction of Salvitelle, go left, go up to the town, and at the junction, turn right, there are no signs, but you will enter Campania.

Traffic becomes even more scarce if possible, but the road surface also worsens, so be careful, also because you will be distracted by the view. However, follow for Auleta.

The first recommended stopping point are the Pertosa caves, which especially in summer, with a development of about 2 kilometers and an average temperature inside of about 15 °, are a valid alternative to the heat. The last visit is at 19.00 (they leave every hour), but it is advisable to take advantage of the hottest hours of the day, a little to avoid the heat wave, but also because the point of arrival is still far away, and there are another 40ina of minutes necessary for the visit of the Charterhouse of Padula.

In Polla, you officially enter the Vallo di Diano, a 37-kilometer-long basin, first a lake, then a swamp, now another gift to agriculture and a super-fast transit point to reach Calabria. This is certainly the most boring stretch of the entire route, even if we will follow the less busy ss426 to Teggiano and then towards Padula.

The Charterhouse of Padula, the only reality of its kind left in the south, is certainly one of the best preserved monumental complexes in the whole of the south, whose construction began in the distant 1306, but which saw the works continued until the 1700s, the citadel of God, also called the Charterhouse of the Angels.

A curiosity: in the library, which is accessed via a sapiential staircase, a real engineering miracle, heliochoidal in shape, with a sequence of 38 steps connected together without the use of lime, along a stone curb very rare texts are preserved, including those "forbidden" books, disclosed to the general public by the novel by Umberto Eco, "the name of the rose".

We start climbing again, but the road becomes panoramic again only in the vicinity of Montasano sulla Maripendenza. We take the ss 103, immersed in the woods, you will cross the Sella Cessuta and to reach Moliterno.

You will practically travel alone, the road is practically in disuse. Be careful because the road surface is certainly not in excellent condition, on the contrary.

From here, after the plain of Sarconi, famous for the production of beans, the climb to Monte Sirino is practically mandatory in order to reach Lagonegro. Take the opportunity to reach Lake Laudemio, a small basin of glacial origin, often dry in the hottest season, which gives its name to the regional nature reserve of the same name.

From Lagonegro the possibilities to land towards the coast are different, but all equally panoramic and extremely fun.

I preferred to detour first to Lake Sirino, following the SS 19, a very small basin with a nearby spring, then towards Rivello, certainly one of the most interesting villages in all of Basilicata, due to its extraordinary position: Monte Sirino is still looming but on the other side it dominates the deep valley of the River Noce.

Coming down from the town, once you arrive on the ss 585, turn left immediately for Trecchina towards the Colla pass.

The unmistakable smell of the sea will accompany us in the last kilometers of winding descent through the woods towards one of the most important tourist centers in the whole of Basilicata: the area of ​​Maratea, which offers the only outlet to the Tyrrhenian sea in the region.

In order to discover one of the most evocative areas of the Gulf of Policastro, a few days of rest would be at least appropriate, needless to say that the undersigned took advantage of it.

Baths, sea, good food, the basic ingredients for a well-deserved relaxation.

And the sunsets are of a moving beauty.

Enjoy them from the top of Monte San Biagio, from the viewpoint of Christ the Redeemer or take the opportunity to drive on the tormented coast, spectacular, very panoramic, a little narrow, but with an excellent asphalt, in search of the best point to admire the sun setting behind Punta degli Infreschi , on the other side of the bay.

Have fun.

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