Basilicata Italy-10 Fun Facts - Digging Up Roots in the Boot

Basilicata Italy-10 Fun Facts

Ciao tutti! Welcome to The Best of Italy, a video series on Digging up Roots on the Boot’s YouTube Channel. Alessia is going to share 10 fun facts about Basilicata Italy.  It is an Italian Region in the South of Italy. Watch the video and continue reading below. Also, be sure and subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss out on new video posts.

1 Frances Ford Coppola has roots in Bernalda

The Medieval hilltop town of Bernalda in Basilicata Italy is where Frances Ford Coppola’s grandfather Agostino lived before he immigrated to America.  The Filmmaker and winemaker went back to his roots in Bernalda and opened Palazzo Margherita, a boutique hotel.  His daughter Sofia was married there in 2011.

2 Val d'Agri in Basilicata Italy

Val d’Agri in Basilicata is a beautiful valley with wide-open spaces.  What you may not know is that it is called the “Texas of Italy”.  Today, there are 27 oil wells in production.  They are connected by 100 kilometers of underground pipelines. It makes Italy the third-largest oil producer in Europe.

3 Viggiano & Migrant Street Musicians

Viggiano in the province of Potenza is known for its great migrant street musicians.  They mostly played the violin, flute, and harp.  At the beginning, in America, they would ride the steamboats along the Mississippi River and play at plantation events.  But, many went on to play for the for best symphonic orchestras in the world.     

4  I Borghi piu Belli d’Italia in Basilicata Italy

The Italian association “I Borghi piu Belli d’Italia” includes 200 Italian villages and recognizes the most beautiful villages in Italy.  There are seven such villages in Basilicata Italy.   

They are Acerenza,  Castelmezzano, Guardia Perticara, Irsina, Pietrapertosa, Venosa, and Viggianello.  They all have something extra special.  One of the most exciting is in Pietrapertosa where you can find the longest and highest zip-line in the world.

5 The Tyrrhenian and Ionian coastline

Basilicata is the arch of 'The Boot' and it is anchored by the Tyrrhenian and Ionian coast.  Unlike the other southern Italian regions, BasilicataItaly has a very short coastline.  The Tyrrhenian coast is about 32 kilometers of mostly rocky beaches.  On the other hand, the 35 kilometer stretch of  Ionian beaches is sandy.

6 The little Pompeii of Basilicata Italy.

There is an Archaeological Park in Grumentum which is known as the little Pompeii of Basilicata.  The ancient ruins of the city are on a hill between two rivers.  It was originally a walled city.  Today there are remains of an amphitheater, Roman baths, mosaics, temples, and a forum.  It is considered one of the most beautiful ancient parks in the south of Italy.

7 The Count of Matera

Count Tramontano was an Italian nobleman who was the Count of Matera.  He was arrogant and despised by the residents.  He demanded a lot of taxes from the people so that he could live in luxury and pay his debts. One day a group of rebels waited for him to leave the church and beat him to death.  The church bells rang constantly and the people of Matera celebrated his death.  

He left behind the unfinished Tramontano Castle.  It is the only above-ground structure of great significance in Matera other than the Sassi.   

8 Maggio di Accettura Pagan Festival

Maggio di Accettura or The marriage of the trees is a four day Pagan festival.  It takes place every May in the town of Accettura.  Two trees are cut from the surrounding forests. They are then carried to the village where they are joined in a ceremony of symbolic matrimony.  

Maggio, the long trunk of an oak tree represents the groom.  It is carried to town by oxen that are bred for the occasion.  Cima, the top of a holly tree represents the blushing bride. The ancient tradition is a ritual to ensure fertile soil and a good harvest.  

9 Amaro Lucano an Herbal Liquor

Amaro Lucano is a family-owned company based in Pisticci, Basilicata. It is an herbal liquor that combines more than 30 different herbs from around the world. The recipe has been passed down from generation to generation since 1894.  The name Lucano comes from Lucania which is the ancient name for Basilicata.

10 The Legend of The Mona Lisa's Death 

There is a popular legend that Lisa Gherardini, better known as Leonardo Da Vinci’s model for the Mona Lisa, met her untimely death in the town of Lagonegro in Basilicata.  

Legend has it that she and her husband, Francesco Messer del Giocondo were on their way to Calabria to purchase sheepskins.  Suddenly, Mona Lisa came down with a fever and her husband, left her in Lagonegro to recover while he conducted business in Calabria.  Unfortunately, she died.        

Do you know any other fun facts about Basilicata?  Let’s talk it out in the comment section below.  Thanks for reading and watching the best of Italy.  A presto!

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