Conceptio in Itinere

MATERA and the best of Basilicata Region

Ancient towns, mysterious medieval treasures and authentic tasting food.

6 nights / 7 days Half board basis + 3 lunches & a wine tasting

Available all year long, suggested from March to November

Here you will find a private 7 days tour plus our suggestions to discover Basilicata region through Horace poems, Carlo Levi heritage, Greek Roman and Norman treasures.  A trip following the good food of rustic savors and the noble wine Aglianico del Vulture enjoying the landscape, ancient towns, mysterious medieval castles and abandoned villages. The below ideal itinerary can be enriched with your special interest activities such as trekking adventure, cycling,  winter sports on the beautiful Lucanian Dolomites and Pollino National Park. During the good season you can add a trip to the beautiful seaside that will enchant you with the clear waters of Metaponto, Policoro and Maratea with its crystal waters. Then, if you like the countryside made of lakes, valleys, pine-woods with their stories of Templars, Briganti, witches and wizards… Basilicata is here to welcome you !


Itinerary:

day 1) MATERA (which will be our everyday starting point)
day 2) MATERA & MURGIA MATERANA Natural Park
day 3) LITTLE LUCAN DOLOMITES: Pietrapertosa & Castelmezzano villages
day 4) CRACO / ALIANO and Calanchi mounts /TURSI
day 5) VENOZA / MELFI and Federico II manor house
day 6)

MIGLIONICO and the Castle of Malconsiglio / MONTESCAGLIOSO

day 7) MATERA, departure

 

Details:

day 1) MATERA

Arrival to Rome Apt Fco (Bari or Naples if you have good flight connections) and private bus transfer to Matera. Transfer from Rome takes indicatively 5:45hrs. Check in operations at your hotel and time at leisure to enjoy the surrounding area and a local dinner at your hotel. After dinner, we propose an optional evening walking tour of Matera through the illuminated streets with a breath-taking view on Sassi area.


Day 2) MATERA the Stone city, Murgia Materana natural Park

Breakfast and departure from the hotel with our local guide for a full day tour. Recognized as World Heritage site by Unesco on 1993 (the first in south-Italy), Matera is ancient  mysterious and romantic, is an absolute “must-see” for all tourists who decide to discover Basilicata. European capital of Culture in 2019 it is most well-known thanks to the famous “Sassi”. Sassi are the historical center of Matera, a net of stairs, narrow alleys, minuscule houses and imposing palaces, terraces (most of the time roofs of an underlying houses), rocky façades, cisterns and churches dug into and built out of the local tufo (a soft sandy stone) creating a truly unique environment.  A landscape that grabs the visitor at first sight and caused directors such as Pierpaolo Pasolini who shot in 1964 “The Gospel according to Matthew” or Mel Gibson who chose Matera as setting for his 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ” to immediately fall in love with the location. The Sassi district is divided in two areas, Sasso Barisano which is the widest, with shops, restaurants and hotels, and Sasso Caveoso which is the most ancient preserving the rugged aspect of Matera. In order to enjoy their unique colors, these two areas must be visited walking, getting lost among the alleys, stairs and panoramic squares overlooking the Murgia Materana landscapes.  Our guide will lead us during the exploration of this unique city, also entering Casa Grotta (the grotto house) typical residence of the old farming culture of Matera, furnished in the original style to understand at best customs and traditions of our forefathers.  Stop for lunch at restaurant. Afternoon excursion to the Murgia Materana Park which is one of the most spectacular rocky landscapes of Italy, mute witness of the ancient relationship between nature and man. Here, the first inhabitants arrived in the prehistory and we can see traces of his settlements in the grottos along the territory running in a Canyon from Gravina di Matera to the village of Montescaglioso, 20kms ahead. Dinner and overnight at your hotel. 

Day 3) LITTLE LUCAN DOLOMITES: Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano villages

The Lucan Dolomites are embraced in the territory of the two communities Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, one facing the other with imposing rocky peaks. This special position of the two villages, permits to make an unbelievable flight over the valley separating them: the Angel Flight (Volo dell’Angelo). Lucan Dolomites are mountains created over 15 million years ago with high peaks and unreachable clefts ideal nest for the beautiful black stork, the red kite, peregrine falcon and optimal location for rare plants.These grandiose mountains contrast the surrounding scenario made of sweet and rounded shapes.  The Seven Stones route connecting the two villages of Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano can be of special interest for all walkers; it runs along an old farmer trail of about 2kms with variable heights. The city planning of Castelmezzano is typical of the Middle-Age with stone roofs fitted in a rocky basin. It’s pleasant to walk in the center of this village-nature which has been included in the list of the most beautiful villages of Italy.  Lunch will be at one of the many nice restaurants of Castelmezzano. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight.

 

Day 4) CRACO / ALIANO and Calanchi mounts / TURSI

Breakfast at your hotel and departure with our guide to Aliano, at 1:40hrs driving from Matera. On the way, we will stop for a while to admire the ghost town of Craco. Here, all travellers feel like absorbed in a surreal atmosphere of a lunar landscape made famous by international movies such as 007 – Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster), The Passion of Christ (Mel Gibson), Nativity (Catherine Hardwicke), Saving Grace (Tom Conti) and King David (Bruce Beresford). The village has been evacuated after a landslide in 1963 and all inhabitants transferred in the valley of Peschiera. Due to the danger of collapse, it’s forbidden to get close to the houses and the abandoned town can be admired from its slopes. It’s really worth a stop on our way ! The village of Aliano is positioned on a clay spur in the beautiful Calanchi mounts  panorama at an altitude of 500mts on sea level dominating the Val d’Agri valley. At the entrance of the village you will find the house of Carlo Levi, Italian-Jewish writer, painter and activist anti-fascist. Here he wrote his most famous book “Christ stopped at Eboli” during the time of his exile in this land.  This beautiful village has a suggestive ancient center characterized by houses entirely built with clay bricks and it’s surrounded by olive plantations and the famous Aliano Gardens with citrus fruits and peach plantations.  Lunch at local restaurant with typical country dishes before continuing our excursion toward the Ionic coast.Tursi is an interesting medieval center (V century) born around the castle built by the Goths, and in a second moment has developed along the underlying valley. The characteristic quarter called Rabatana is well-known and ancient testimony of the Arabic settlement in this area. In fact the origin of the name Rabatana comes from the Arab Ribat (a place to rest, fortress) and represent the highest spot of Tursi in optimal defense position. We will also visit the sanctuary of Santa Maria Regina of Anglona, old Marian sanctuary on a hill of Anglona district, between two rivers at short distance from Tursi. The hill of Anglona seems to be inhabited since Bronze and Iron age. In the middle-age, a new settlement was built here but the sole remaining trace is the church of Santa Maria of Anglona.  Back to Matera, dinner and overnight. 

Day 5) VENOSA / MELFI and Federico II manor house

Breakfast at your hotel and departure to the northern part of Basilicata. Venosa is located in the territory of Vulture, famous for the mineral waters and for the Aglianico wine production, is listed among the most beautiful villages of Italy. Its origins go back to immemorial time; the prehistoric site Notarchirico at few kms from the residential area, is the oldest in Basilicata. The archaeological site brought to light a thigh-bone of the homo erectus and  many fossils of extinct animals have been recovered. The ancient city was born under the Roman emperor to control the Appian Way and after the victory on Sanniti population, Romans dedicated the city to Venus which was so dear to the local inhabitants. Visit to the ruins of the Roman thermal baths and to the Domus part of the ancient residential area. We will discover the ruins of the first Paleochristian  basilica, the Castle built with the same shape of Castelnuovo in Naples with the defense moat all around and the lift bridge. Near the Castle there’s the Angioina fountain, the biggest among those survived here with a stone lion coming from another Roman city, used later as public washtub.  Independent lunch on your own while in Venosa and stop for wine tasting in one of the best vineyards of Vulture  before continuing our excursion to Melfi. Arriving to Melfi means to travel across the magical and mysterious Middle-age. This travel in time when you arrive the imposing Castle overlooking the residential area with its eight big towers, the surrounding wall and the ancient village houses climbing the hill to the manor.  Here you can breathe the mystic atmosphere of the middle-age, on which lingers the charismatic figure of King Federico II of Swabia who made the south of Italy really great during XIII century. He was a warrior and a philosopher, hunter and intellectual, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and at the same time friend of the “unfaithful”.  Federico II funded in Naples the first laical University and issued the first modern constitution creating a cultural bridge with Islam during a difficult era of bloody conflicts and fanaticism.  We will visit the throne saloon, the courtyard, the ancient Norman entrance. Today his castle houses the National archaeological museum of Melfi which is one of the main museums in Basilicata. Back to Matera, dinner and overnight.


Day 6)  MIGLIONICO, betrayal stories / MONTESCAGLIOSO and its monasteries

Miglionico is an ancient town founded by Milone from Tatanto a lieutenant of Pirro army (Greek soldier) who arrived on these hills and founded a military colony equipped with high walls. Miglionico passed under Sanniti control till 458 b.C when Romans conquered the city. Miglionico is famous for the happenings in the Castle of Malconsiglio where the Barons’ conspiracy took place against Ferdinand I King of Naples. Among the three castles of Miglionico, this is certainly the most important for its relevant part in the Italian history. It has a strategic position on the hilltop controlling the Brandano valley and a star-shaped fortification of VIII century after Christ.  Visit of the Ghosts’ room once housing the Baron’s gold, treasures, documents and precious books,  visit to Malconsiglio Saloon where the conspiracy took place in 1485 and to the chapel of the Castle. With a 40 minute drive, arrival to Montescaglioso and stop for an independent lunch on your own. Historically, Montescaglioso was the center of a county in the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. It’s located in the archaeological area and natural reserve of the Rocky churches Park (Parco delle Chiese rupestri del MateranoI) and it’s called  the City of Monasteries for the presence of 4 important monastery complexes. St Michele Arcangelo Benedictine Abbey is the most relevant and we are going to visit its interior. Visit of the cloister, the refectory and to the monk’s cell. The Carnival celebrations here in Montescaglioso are popular all over Italy, if you are here during the winter do not miss the chance to attend the street parade ! Back to Matera, dinner and overnight.

Day 7) MATERA

Breakfast at your hotel and according to your schedule, departure from Matera to reach Rome or Naples airport. End of our service, with the hope to welcome you in Italy again !



The below rates are NET to us and include:

• Accommodation and daily breakfast at 4* hotel of Matera

• Air conditioned private coach with professional driver for all transfers and tours

• Multilingual Tour guide from the arrival (Apt) till the end of service in Matera.

• 3 lunches at restaurants with local dishes: always min. 3 courses menu, in Matera, Castelmezzano and Aliano.

• Wine tasting of Aglianico del Vulture, in Venosa

• Entrance fees to archaeological area, castles and site as per itinerary

• City bus permits and parking all over the itinerary

 

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