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Lucania's treasuresBASILICATA


Lucania's treasures

Article published in Speciali di Motociclismo magazine in 2002.

The Sassi of Matera, from a symbol of the backwardness of the South to a World Heritage Site. Beautiful roads from the Lido di Metaponto with steps above a thousand meters, up to the Lucanian Dolomites.

Read the story published in the magazine.

The beach of Metaponto bears witness to a glorious history. Closed between the mouths of the Bradano and the Basento, its happy position constituted its misfortunes but also the cause of its decline. Pythagoras taught there for many years, Hannibal set up camp near him in his Italian campaign against the Romans; this is the place where the head of his brother Hasdrubal, defeated at Metauro, would have been thrown at his feet.

For archeology enthusiasts it is certainly an excellent starting point (even if the areas of interest are a little distant from each other) before going inside, for those who are not a little less so, absolutely to do not miss the temple of Hera, better known by the name of Tavole Palatine.

They are located, visible from the Ionian state road, almost at the intersection with the SS 175 for Matera, which we will avoid taking, once the visits are over, to take the SS 407 up to Bernalda, to immediately turn left for Pomarico.

The road, after an initial stretch of adjustment at high altitude, is designed by modeling itself on a terrain of gullies, drawing itself in the vain attempt to reach this small town located on a limestone spur in the shortest possible time. Matera with its Sassi is not far away as the crow flies, but we will arrive there not before having visited Miglionico with its Malconsiglio castle, which in its history also sees a subdivision into houses in the mid-80s, and now in the process of renovation, and Montescaglioso, deserving for the panoramic road to reach it, but above all for the splendid view that can be enjoyed from this ancient center whose origins date back to 1000 BC

From here, arriving in Matera is a pure formality. The best way to get to know this magical city, resting with its Sassi on a deep ravine, is to observe it from Piazza Pascoli.

Public opinion discovered the Sassi, after Carlo Levi published in 1945 the account of his political confinement "Christ stopped at Eboli".

“These inverted cones, these funnels, are called Sassi. They have the form in which, at school, we imagined Dante's Inferno. "

Through very steep streets you go through a labyrinth in which the houses often have only the facades in masonry: the rest, house and stable, is dug into the rock.

The transfer of 15,000 inhabitants, with a crowding of up to 7 people per cave, which took place immediately after the war, was felt as the most excruciating national shame, in the context of the backwardness of the south.

Today, rightly so, the site is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Leaving the city, follow the signs for La Martella, then for Lake San Giuliano. The reasons are 2: to avoid a stretch of road already traveled and drive along the lake driving on a road lost in a sea of ​​meadows in the absolute absence of traffic. We will take the ss 7 again in Grottole to immediately realize the excellent quality of the asphalt, the beauty of the road and how fast the Basentana, much further down, has eased the traffic on the old Appia.

Just over 30 kilometers, swallowed all in one breath, to enter Tricarico, very recognizable for its Norman tower.

Curiosity: the transformation of the castle, carried out in 1333, into a place of seclusion for girls of high lineage.

In a continuous ups and downs and in a succession of curves we climb to 900 m of the 3 Cancelli pass and even higher to 1028 m of the Cupolicchio pass.

From here the so-called Lucane Dolomites are now clearly visible, around which picturesque villages such as Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are perched.

And the latter, among other things the highest town in Basilicata with its 1088 m, will be the object of our attention.

It is surrounded by very particular rocks, which have been given various names, including "the eagle", "the owl", "the eagle owl" and so on. The place is very suggestive, but the road is not to be missed: beautiful up to Castelmezzano and at the intersection with the Basentana, splendid in the remaining 11 kilometers.

You will have to descend by the same route, but I don't think this will be a big problem. Once again on the valley floor, for Albano Lucano with the characteristic stone portals of its buildings, it is advisable to take the freeway for only 6 kilometers.

From here, either follow the faster SS 407, or return to the Appia to tackle the last curves before entering the provincial capital, located about thirty kilometers away.

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