Basilicata, the unknown beauty of southern Italy


Cinema has unveiled for fifty years, with a dropper, the beauty of this forgotten Italian region. To visit without too much delay.

C ‘is a bit of the story of a resurrection stuck north of Apulia, on the west by Campania and the south by Calabria, Basilicata not holding anyone’s attention, poor and forgotten region of powers Italian public, the rest of the country and tourists stigmatized … could we even say, as a symbol of poverty and misery of the Peninsula. Yet this region, which deserves more than it offers itself as its most cabotines neighbors, full of unexpected riches.

 

His resurrection, she owes partly to cinema and literature. Pier Paolo Pasolini’s elect, and particularly the city of Matera, to turn in 1964, The Gospel according to St. Matthew. Forty years later, Gibson will realize its maligned Passion of Christ.

In 2006, the village of Craco served as a framework for The Nativity Story (2006), the love story between Joseph and Mary before Rocco Papaleo are signs the beautiful road movie, Basilicata Coast to Coast (2010) . This film tells the story of four musician friends who, tired of having no success, decide to go to Scanzano Jonico festival crossing walk Basilicata, starting from the Tyrrhenian Sea to reach the Ionian Sea.

Ten thousand years of history

In March, many residents saw Matera wander in their streets the tall figure of Morgan Freeman turn came the remake of Ben-Hur, which should leave on screens in 2016. The arrival of this blockbuster should give a shot additional spotlight on Matera and its region, especially since the American actor was not stingy in the local press, compliments for this Jerusalem lost in the far south of Italy.

Not content to be listed as heritage UNESCO since 1993, it will be European Capital of Culture in 2019.

In all, more than thirty films have been or will be facing in the region. Literature side Basilicata owes its fame to Carlo Levi, a young doctor and writer from Turin, “confined” in the sense of power fascist of the era, in the village of Aliano, in the late 1930s in its very beautiful novel, Christ Stopped at Eboli, published in 1945, describes the misery of the surroundings and compare Matera Dante’s Inferno …

Matera, former “national shame”,has become in recent years a major destination for tourists.

But Matera, this former “national shame” – if you believe the statements attributed to the President of the Italian Council in 1950 – has become in a few years a major destination for tourists, whether you are a film buff or not. This city jealously watches over its stones, its stones and its “Sassi”. These are two neighborhoods of Matera, such as clinging to the mountainside, dug into the tuff. Caves, grottos and cave dwellings – expanded over the years and needs of the people – of these neighborhoods once dormant are now in rehabilitation.

Read: Matera, a biblical scene

At the bottom of this canyon flows the Gravina, a torrent that looks rather peaceful in the middle of July. The heat is oppressive and the temperature can curl 40 degrees during the summer months. Strolling through the streets of the city then provides a soothing freshness. “Wander” is perhaps not the right word: trudge would be more appropriate. In Sassi, it goes up, goes down, and cross streets and the ten thousand years of history that have shaped the city.

 

It is said to be one of the oldest cities after Aleppo and Jericho. Sasso Barisano between and Sasso Caveoso, one sees a beautiful Romanesque cathedral of the XIII th  century Santa Maria della Bruna, currently being restored. Whatever! Always be able to fall back on one of the 150 churches, rock or not, have the city and its surroundings, like San Francesco or of the Purgatorio, at the end of Via Ridola, whose facade is decorated with bas -reliefs macabre.

New Amalfi Coast

After having been evacuated due to their unhealthy, the Sassi are now, so to speak, in the odor of sanctity income … So much so that housing will bloom again. The Airbnb rentals, but also accommodation luxury, like the Sextantio. This amazing hotel is as “diffused hotel”, whose rooms have sat in caves … on several levels, along a steep path.

All the furniture was antique, bathrooms with contemporary furnishings being the only concession to modernity. Even the key to the door seems to come from the Middle Ages: its size and weight will quickly to deter collectors to prevail as a souvenir …

 

A one hour drive from Matera, down towards the Ionian coast, lies the city of Bernalda. A priori, nothing extraordinary in this city of 12,000 souls … except maybe the story of Agostino Coppola, 18 young mechanic party to try his luck in the US in 1904. A century later, his grand-son, Francis Ford Coppola directed the project close to his heart since he was young: back in the footsteps of his grandfather.

This was done in 2005 with the acquisition of Palazzo Margherita to a family who made ​​his fortune in the trade of olive oil. Six years later, the Palazzo, with the help of the French decorator Jacques Grange, became a luxury hotel with nine rooms and suites. Decidedly, the cinema is never far away in this region … The proof: the living room can become very quickly a private screening room and bar attached to the hotel – appropriately named Cinecittà Bar – may, through portraits of artists hanging the wall, become an excellent support for a quiz  cinema. Do not do as I confusing Toto and Marty Feldman …

 

Finally, Italy without a trip to the sea, it is not really Italy. Rather than give in to the easy going in Metaponto, renowned seaside resort on the Ionian coast, with campsites, lido and open disco, we preferred the city of Maratea, on the Tyrrhenian coast. Here, small beaches and coves are queens.

As for the village, the tone if not engraved on the fountain in the Town Hall Square: “Maratea, ever free, ever more beautiful,” with its cobbled streets, its steep paths and 44 churches. The most beautiful view overlooking Maratea. A Christ Redeemer seems imposing protect the city like Rio or Lisbon, its gardens, offers an incredible view of the coast which some already see as the new Amalfi coast south of Naples.

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