Today, another moment of my Italian summer, this one in Basilicata, a beautiful region situated between Calabria and Apulia, in the south of Italy. Basilicata contains two particularly fine spots which attract travellers: Matera and Maratea. Although they are still not major tourist sites, these two towns are among Italy’s best destinations.
I would definitely include Matera in your tour when you are travelling in Southern Italy: Matera is famous for its atmospheric cave-dwelling districts (Sassi), abandoned in the 1950s and slowly being brought back to life, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to its remote location you won’t stumble across it but will have to choose to go there. It’s well worth it to have the experience of a place unique in the world. We did it this summer and we were awe-struck by the beauty of Sassi.
Getting to Matera by car was a relaxing, peaceful journey through a unique landscape. Basilicata is a mountainous region, bathed by two seas, with enchanted villages, beautiful forests and lunar gullies. We hadn’t enough time to fully appreciate all the splendour of this region, but everywhere you find countless activities to enjoy in both the sea and the mountains.
Basilicata has a strong gastronomic tradition based on local products, all of the highest quality. On the contrary, its wine is not popular outside the region, which is a shame! The top regional wine is the Aglianico del Vulture, that covers 9/10 of the region’s wine production. It is a ruby red wine, with aromas of ripe fruit, spices and liquorice. It is very tannic and with a strong acid charge, therefore perfect for all local DOP cheeses, such as pecorino di Filano, canestrato di Moliterno and caciocavallo Podolico.
You can buy this wine following this link:
It is a proud wine with a good heart, linked to traditions, like the people of this region, called Lucanians. Writing about this wine and this region reminded me my dear friend Nicola, who, four years ago, had proudly introduced me to the beauty of his native land.
“I hope that soon, dear Nicola, you will guide me through your enchanting places, I look forward to sharing a bottle of Aglianico. From what I saw, you were right, this land is amazing!”
I recommend a good Aglianico del Vulture with the typical lagane with chickpeas. This is also called ‘the brigand’s dish’ because, in the 18th Century, the outlaws, hidden in the woods, used to have it as a single course. This wine is also a good choice for Potentina cod, Lucanians are masters in cooking cod!
My travels around Italy…..to be continued 😉
RITA RECOMMENDS …
I love Basilicata and Matera is one of my favourite places in Italy. I have been there a few times and every time I visited the town I have always enjoyed the delicious lagane with chickpeas.
Lagane is an ancient, probably one of the oldest, durum wheat pastas cut into short, wide ribbons. They were even quoted by the Roman poet Horace, who wrote about a soup of lagane and chickpeas which he ate in his home town, Venosa in Basilicata. Like many of the pastas of southern Italy it is eggless, making it ideal for vegans. It is a great handmade pasta for beginners as the simple dough is foolproof and doesn’t require a pasta machine to be rolled out.
Though the pairing of pasta with the humble chickpea may not sound as glamorous as a rich ragù or creamy sauce, it is a combination eaten with gusto throughout Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia.
Follow this link for the recipie and…..BUON APPETITO:
Gran p quann s pis e vin p quann s vrnegn. (Grano quando si miete e vino quando si vendemmia)