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Basilicata region of southern Italy, also known as Lucania

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This thread fell out of Fodors indexing system about six months ago and cannot be found by normal search methods. Since apparently Fodors is unable to fix the problem, I will re-post the thread, because without it there is relatively little information about the Basilicata region.
Here is the first post:


visiting the Basilicata region of southern Italy, also known as Lucania

Author: Carol
Date: 06/09/2001, 06:14 am
Message: I just returned from a trip to the Basilicata (also known as Lucania) region of southern Italy. Here's what you'll find there if you go before it changes: Beautiful, rugged scenery; complex, culturally varied, interesting history; kind, hospitable, unjaded people; ancient folkways, pageantry, manners, and lifestyle still practiced in many parts; delicious, simple, robustly flavored cooking of wholesome natural food; in many parts (other than relatively famous places like Matera and Maratea), zero foreign tourists (except for you if you're fortunate enough to go there).

From May 21 to June 2 I was on an 11-day soulful tour of the region organized by a woman in New York, then went on a 4-day visit on my own to the small town of Accettura (birthplace of one of my grandparents), where I watched various phases "Il Maggio", also known as "La Festa di Sangiulino", a fascinating multi-day festa of ancient pagan origins centering around the "marriage" of two trees, one of which is carried for hours from the forest into town by 50 pairs of oxen, accompanied by folk musicians and people of all ages and walks of life from both town and surrounding countryside. (These days, this pagan festival is strangely combined with a more traditional patron saint celebration, which takes place on the 50th day after Easter.)

I'd recommend both the organized tour of Basilicata (Lucania) and the independent visit to Accettura during the week of the Sangiuliano festa. I'm posting my real e-mail address (for a change) because I'd be glad to answer any questions from people who might consider visiting Lucania.

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    I'm not sure what you mean by not able to be fixed. I just clicked on the "cmt" above this post and get the entire old thread.

    I know someone had topped just a week or so ago.

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    That's amazing. Just a half hour ago it wasn't there! I searched for Basilicata and for Lucania and it didn't come up. Really. I wonder whether my retrieving it to cut and paste it somehow re-activated it. (???!) Nah.... It must be just coincidence that Fodors just now fixed it, just the night when I finally decided to repost it. (I'm probably the one who topped it recently. I had it bookmarked so I could still find it without searching the normal way.)

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    I think that you're both right. Something about having "passed through" the "black hole of no indexing" (there were two actually, in June-July, and a separate one in July-August doomed certain threads forever.

    Becayse cmt did find it and top it SINCE registration it can be indeed be found by clicking on her name.

    But still NOT by the normal search method.

    Bizarre.

    Best wishes,

    Rex
    rbmd@usa.net

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    Patrick: I see the problem. It can be found by clicking on my ID, but it still canNOT be found by a normal word search. So it is "lost" for practical purposes, since someone coming here to find info on Basilicata will search for Basilicata or Lucania, NOT for "cmt"!

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    The original thread still doesn't come up using the search engine. Here's a link to it that keeps the usual frames:

    http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=1300139

    Now hopefully if someone searches for "Basilicata" this thread will come up and lead to the original thread.

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    second cluster of posts:

    Author: Rex
    Date: 06/09/2001, 06:16 am
    Message: Welcome back, Carol. Nice report.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 06/10/2001, 04:39 pm
    Message: Hello again. I would really like to encourage thoughtful, curious, flexible travelers ("tourists" OK) to visit this beautiful unspoiled area before its old traditions fade away. I will therefore be topping this message every now and then. Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.
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    Author: tonyccc
    Date: 06/10/2001, 08:42 pm
    Message: Carol;
    We stayed in Matera for 3 nights last year as a part of an independent trip we took to Southern Italy.
    We arrived in Matera two days before the Feasta della Madonna Bruna, which is held every year on July 2nd. There was a nightly festa leading up this day, with music in the piazza nightly,
    and all the streets festooned in festive lights.
    Matera is renown for having a great passeggiata, with most of the townspeople taking a nightly stroll. With the approach of the feast day, it seem liked everyone for miles around was
    there. Finally, on July 2nd the Festa
    began. At dawn a cart , with a statue of the Madonna in it, drawn by eight mules and guarded by men wearing folk costumes makes a trip throughout the town, and finally to the Duomo. There it goes around the square in front of the Duomo 3 times. Then the Madonna is removed and brought into the church.
    Then, with fireworks blasting amid the confusion, townspeople destroy and demolish the cart, taking pieces of it with them for souveniers.
    That evening there is a fantastic fireworks display.
    We loved Matera and Basilicata.
    The Sassi in Matera were remakable.
    We got lost twice roaming through them.
    The people were warm and friendly.
    The food was good and inexpensive.
    We ran into no American tourists.
    Unfortunately, because we only had a few days to spend in Basilicata, the only other towns we visited were Bernalda and Metaponta, although we drove around the countryside from Potenza
    We plan on going back sometime in the near future and exploring the region more thoroughly.

    Author: cmt
    Date: 06/13/2001, 10:26 pm
    Message: Hi, Tony. It was nice to find your comment. I found Matera (i sassi) very interesting and unusual, but we were only there for a day trip. Remember how dry Matera is? Well, the day we were there, there was a surprise deluge and we all got soaked. I wanted to stay longer anyway, despite wet clothes, but majority ruled and our visit was cut short. Basilicata does seem to have some of the best pageantry anywhere, e.g., the festa you saw in Matera, the pagan "Maggio" in little Accettura, and the spectacular parade of the Turks in Potenza just to name a few. You're probably familiar with this very good website about the region. I found it over a year ago, but strangers who also discover it keep recommending it to me, and I keep recommending it to others because it's so good: www.basilicata.com. The photos are beautiful, info is useful, and it's easy to use. The "guestbook" message board is actually where I heard about the tour that I ended up taking! (I think it may be the only USAmerican tour strictly to Basilicata.)

    Author: cmt
    Date: 06/17/2001, 06:40 am
    Message: Is anyone interested in seeing a folk dance group from this region? I don't know the details, but I thinks one will be in NYC and possibly in Princeton, NJ in Jan.

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    next few:


    Author: Marly
    Date: 07/08/2001, 12:44 am
    Message: Carol,
    I'm fascinated. My grandmother came from Brindisi di Montagna. I always thought that the Basilicata region was remote and unappealing to tourists, and have never read of any tours that went there. It's particularly interesting to learn that the tours are only in the Basilicata region, rather than of several more "popular" areas of Italy.I went to the site you referenced, but it's written almost exclusively in Italian, which I don't read or speak. Does this woman who handles the tours run some of them with English speaking guides? Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
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    Author: Pauline
    Date: 07/08/2001, 01:18 am
    Message: I just finished a good book called Dancing with Luigi by Paul Paolicelli. He spent 3 years living in Italy and researching where both sets of his grandparents came from. One grandfather came from Matera, the other from a town in the Abruzzo. The book gives you a good understanding of growing up Italian-American and I enjoyed reading about his travels in Italy searching for records of his relatives.
    Pauline
    www.slowtrav.com
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    Author: Janice
    Date: 07/08/2001, 08:29 am
    Message: Carol, did you see my message about needing a hotel for one night in Basilica? We need it to be near the Autostrada, as a stopover from Tuscany to Sicily. I think Cosenza will be too far south. We have been trying Maratea, but I can see that it is very busy in August. We need a room for Saturday night, August 4! Any ideas?

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    Author: carol
    Date: 07/08/2001, 09:13 am
    Message: Janice, since I was on a tour and only had to find my own hotel in Accettura (easy--there's only one) I don't have much experience booking my own hotels in Basilicata. Also, I personally didn't drive at all -- never do on vacations, and never will in the mts. in a foreign country. I liked our hotel in Muro Lucano (Hotel delle Colline, tel. 39-0976-2284, fax 39-0976-2192), a beautiful medium-sized hill town, but, though near the highway, it's way up a steep hill, so maybe not very convenient for you. I don't think Basilicata is such a likely place for a quickie one-night stop, but FYI Potenza is the largest city in the region and probably has the most hotels, though lacks the unspoiled charm of small remote towns. The most touristed places in Basilicata (where there are probably the most hotels) are Maratea, Metaponto and Matera, and Potenza is probably the busiest town. Maratea is beautiful, but it's a resort, and probably the hotels are very expensive and as heavily booked as Taormina Sicily during the "in" season. I've never been to Cosenza, which is in Calabria. When I was a teenager, I stayed one night in Paola, Calabria, with my parents. It was a medium-sized pretty town near the highway, and at the time (1963) there seemed to be no tourists except us, but I don't know how it is now. For names and #s of hotels in Basilicata, try the website www.basilicata.com. Click "alberghi" and then choose the province (Matera or Potenza) and then the particular town(s) you've IDd as maybes based on location. (The site is not entirely up to date re hotels, e.g., it listed a Hotel Croccia in Accettura that has been closed a few years.) If you find a SMALL town with a hotel, it will probably have vacancies unless there's an annual festa or some big wedding going on. However, a SMALL town is unlikely to be right along the highway.
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    Author: carol
    Date: 07/08/2001, 09:22 am
    Message: Pauline, I never read the book you mentioned -- will look for it. Most of my reading re southern italy (e.g., Christ Stopped at Eboli, Fontamara) dates from my college days. I've been to a lot of the more "famous" parts of Italy, and lately I've become more interested in seeing the towns of my ancestry. Last year I stayed briefly in the little town in the Nebrodi Mts. (prov. of Messina) in Sicily where 1/2 my roots are. However, unlike many people who visit their ancestral villages, I'm really not that interested in genealogy -- more in the way of life, cooking, folkways, economy, dialect, crafts, history, farming, meeting people, etc.
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    Author: Carol
    Date: 07/08/2001, 10:49 am
    Message: Marly, in the previous posting I forgot to reply re that website (www.basilicata.com). Yes it's all in Italian, except for the message board, which is called "guestbook" and which has messages posted in any language the poster feels like using, mostly Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese. You may still get some use out of that website, though. On the home page, click on "Il Territorio" which will lead you to a table of geographic areas and topics. Click on the various options and you'll see a few pretty photos. i have other web addresses with photos of the region but I think all the words are in Italian. If you enter the guestbook (view) and scroll down you'll see some entries re the tour. Thst's where I heard about the tour. I also "met" another American on that site who'd taken the tour a previous year and with whom I have cousins in common.
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    Author: Dona
    Date: 07/08/2001, 06:58 pm
    Message: Carol -
    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful trip to Basilicata. It's an area I have planned on visiting but not yet done it. I appreciate your inspiration...

    Dona
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    Author: Marly
    Date: 07/09/2001, 12:17 am
    Message: Carol,
    Thank you so much for your generous reply. I did go to the message board on the Basilicata site once again, scrolled down, and found the name of the woman who runs the trips. I'm going to put myself on the mailing list to learn of future trips. One other question: would my fairly healthy mother who is in her eighties and walks slowly be able to handle this type of trip? I'm thinking of the hills and such, and how much walking is involved. Thank you again.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/09/2001, 07:08 pm
    Message: Dona, I hope you do go!

    Marly, the walks are not long and, with very few exceptions, are not at all strenuous for an average middle aged person or an athletic elderly person, though they might be for an octogenarian. (There was just one short, somewhat strenuous walk to the top of castle ruins in Pietrapertosa, but only two of us opted to go. another walk, while not strenuous, involved clambering around paths broken in an earthquake and the footing was therefore pretty tricky. Only four of us chose to go on that walk.) All walks are optional, but some places (e.g., i sassi in Matera) can only be seen by walking. There's always the possibility of sitting on a bench somewhare, or having a cold drink at a cafe (or even sitting in the bus) while the others walk. A person who prefers not to walk could still soak up a little of the atmosphere of a town that way, and it might actually be very pleasant to do that sometimes. However, I have to point out that this is a rugged region and most of the towns are old HILL towns. (That's the beauty of it.) So even the shortest, slowest walk requires careful stepping on uneven surfaces and on streets that may be constructed right into the hill itself. This would be true no matter what tour you took to this area or if you traveled there independently. Sometimes because of travel time to/from the hotel, the time available to enjoy visiting a particular village or site may be quite limited. Therefore, while the group may walk slowly to see the sights, it could be a problem for the group if someone with EXTREME difficulty walking on rough hilly streets attempted to come along and had great difficulty keeping up even the slow group pace. So remember, waiting in a nice comfortable place, watching people, having a snack, taking pictures, or even napping is always an option and may be a nice way to experience a town.

    I'd suggest also asking the tour organizer this question, as the tour is always being modified in response to perceived needs, and there may be new options available that I'm not aware of.
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    Author: Janice
    Date: 07/10/2001, 03:23 pm
    Message: Dear Carol,
    Thanks for your information on hotels in Basilica. I will keep searching. I am a little concerned about safety and reported road work along A3 south of Naples. Should I be? Thanks again.

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    another cluster of posts

    Author: DJ
    Date: 07/11/2001, 01:08 pm
    Message: Carol,
    I enjoyed reading your post and all of the responses. I'm pretty excited about this area as I recently purchased a book called "Southern Italy" which is an Insight Guide that talks about this area, it's history, food, culture, etc.

    Unfortunately I'll only be as far south as the Amalfi Coast this fall but I'd like to plan 2 more trips to Italy soon, one focusing on the southern end on one on the northern end. It seems there is SO MUCH to see it's overwhelming. I've never been to Europe and wonder if I'm just reacting this way because this will be our first time and our first country.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/11/2001, 06:23 pm
    Message: DJ, some of us are just always excited. It's mostly a good thing. That's how we can tell for sure we're not dead yet! When you do your southern Italy trip, don't forget Sicily. And yes there IS an enormous amount to see in Italy (and in most countries), and we'll never see it all.

    Janice, I have no personal experience with driving south of Naples, and in fact on this trip I did not travel along the coast south of Naples. However, 29 years ago, when my friend and I were taking a public bus to some place along the Amalfi coast, the bus was unable to proceed at one point because of some huge construction site in the middle of the road that the bus co, apparently hadn't heard of (???!).

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    next cluster

    Author: russ i
    Date: 07/12/2001, 02:19 am
    Message: If anyone ins interested, an excellent book set in this region is the classic, Christ Stopped at Eboli, by Carlo Levi. It is the true story of Levi's "house arrest" there in 1935-36 for his opposition to Mussolini. Fasinating.
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    Author: carol
    Date: 07/13/2001, 01:33 pm
    Message: I agree that Christ Stopped at Eboli is very much worth reading. I read it in the 1960's, and it made such a strong impression on me that I was very pleasantly surprised when I visited the region last month that so much of the land in Lucania is so green and fertile --either productive farmland or lush woods-- and though still quite poor and underappreciated, the region is not DESPERATELY poor or TOTALLY neglected. The town called "Gagliano" in the book is Aliano in real life. It is set in a strange landscape of dry, infertile, clay(?) cliffs. If you visit there you can see some of the houses mentioned in the book and can see paintings by Levi of some of the real characters in the book. Also, I was very interested in some of the discussionms of the local dialect (see p. 209 and 186 of book), especially re the words for layers of tomorrow. I learned during my visit to the region about a month ago that these unusual dialect words are still used in everyday speech in some nearby towns (e.g., Cirigliano and Accettura). They're probably still used in Aliano, too, but I didn't happen to get a chance to ask anyone.
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    Author: Carol
    Date: 07/15/2001, 07:01 pm
    Message: If you'd like to get some idea what Basilicata looks like, you can see a few of my photos on the part of Sally Fowler's website for Fodorite photos:
    http://geocities.com/dhfsbf/fodorite/fodor.htm

    There are very recent photos from the following places in Basilicata (Lucania): Muro Lucano, Pietrapertosa, Accettura, and Potenza. (The other pictures of mine are from Sicily last year.)
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    next:




    Author: carol
    Date: 07/16/2001, 08:53 pm
    Message: still shamelessly topping

    (At least I admit it!)
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    Author: Mauro
    Date: 07/18/2001, 10:05 am
    Message: Carol,
    Thanks for directing me to this site. Sounds like a listing of people that Luisa would be interested in reading about.
    Mauro
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/19/2001, 12:08 am
    Message: In case anyone's interested, I think you can send away for free tourist info about this region and its attractions by writing to this e-mail address:
    APT@powernet.it (This is the tourism promotion ofice for Basilicata.) Some of the free guidebooks are very good, with beautiful photos. (Some of the materials are available in English, French, German, Greek, etc., but I'm not sure whether the people reading the e-mail inquiries will necessarily be multilingual.)
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    Author: Marly
    Date: 07/19/2001, 05:36 pm
    Message: Carol,
    Thanks again for this newest bit of information. I keep an eye out each day for any new posts from you. Loved your photos.
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    Author: Carol
    Date: 07/20/2001, 12:51 am
    Message: Thanks, Marly. As much as I'd love to attract some attention to this beautiful and forgotten region, I'm going to run out of new things to say if someone else doesn't start asking questions or adding comments.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/20/2001, 07:02 pm
    Message: Why can't I find this thread when I do a simple search for either "lucania" or "basilicata"? Even the search function is neglecting this underappreciated region!
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    Author: JOdy
    Date: 07/20/2001, 07:22 pm
    Message: It's "Dances with Luigi"by Paul Paolicelli, I'm in the middle of it. It's wonderful in 2 ways for me, His adventures in Italy and he's from my hometown , Pittsburgh and mentins so many things I remember. A real delight and makes you want to do what he did.

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    trying to post the next cluster:



    Author: carol
    Date: 07/16/2001, 08:53 pm
    Message: still shamelessly topping

    (At least I admit it!)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: Mauro
    Date: 07/18/2001, 10:05 am
    Message: Carol,
    Thanks for directing me to this site. Sounds like a listing of people that Luisa would be interested in reading about.
    Mauro
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/19/2001, 12:08 am
    Message: In case anyone's interested, I think you can send away for free tourist info about this region and its attractions by writing to this e-mail address:
    APT@powernet.it (This is the tourism promotion ofice for Basilicata.) Some of the free guidebooks are very good, with beautiful photos. (Some of the materials are available in English, French, German, Greek, etc., but I'm not sure whether the people reading the e-mail inquiries will necessarily be multilingual.)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: Marly
    Date: 07/19/2001, 05:36 pm
    Message: Carol,
    Thanks again for this newest bit of information. I keep an eye out each day for any new posts from you. Loved your photos.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: Carol
    Date: 07/20/2001, 12:51 am
    Message: Thanks, Marly. As much as I'd love to attract some attention to this beautiful and forgotten region, I'm going to run out of new things to say if someone else doesn't start asking questions or adding comments.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/20/2001, 07:02 pm
    Message: Why can't I find this thread when I do a simple search for either "lucania" or "basilicata"? Even the search function is neglecting this underappreciated region!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: JOdy
    Date: 07/20/2001, 07:22 pm
    Message: It's "Dances with Luigi"by Paul Paolicelli, I'm in the middle of it. It's wonderful in 2 ways for me, His adventures in Italy and he's from my hometown , Pittsburgh and mentins so many things I remember. A real delight and makes you want to do what he did.

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    oops--that was a duplicate--here's the new bunch:

    Author: Marly
    Date: 07/21/2001, 12:41 am
    Message: I'm curious about those of us who are interested in the Basilicata region, since it doesn't seem to draw many tourists (at least not yet). Do you have grandparents or other relatives who migrated to the U.S. in the late 1800's to the early 1900's who came from that region? My grandmother arrived at Ellis Island in 1905. She was only nineteen, and was leaving her homeland and much of her family forever. She told me many stories of her poverty-stricken life in Brindisi di Montagna, and I regret that I didn't ask more questions. I might be wrong, but I think that most of the immigrants from the Basilicata region settled in the eastern U.S. My grandmother eventually moved to eastern Pennsylvania, where I grew up. Are there any good stories that some of you would like to share?
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/21/2001, 07:46 pm
    Message: My grandmother came to NYC as a teenager from the little town of Accettura in the province of Matera (in the Basilicata region) in the early years of the 20th century. She married another immigrant from the Calabria region. Neither of my grandparents told me much about the places where they had grown up. My grandmother sometimes sang songs or recited sayings she'd learned as a child, and her wonderful cooking and skillful needlework certainly reflected the culture of her childhood, as did the grape vine and the back and white figs trees in the tiny back yard. So what I learned about Lucania was mostly non-verbal. Though my Sicilian grandparents were never alive during my lifetime, I had far more solid knowledge about Sicily, from my father, who grew up there. I had such a great time visiting "my" little town in Sicily last year that I was determined to visit Basilicata as well. I was very fortunate to find a tour that went there, since I'm afraid to drive alone in the mountains in a foreign country, and it would've been difficult to visit more than just a few towns in the region if I had to rely on infrequent bus and train service, usually beginning and ending in Potenza.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/23/2001, 02:56 pm
    Message: I think many emigrants also settled in South America, particularly Argentina but also brazil and some other countries. I know that relatives of mine from both Sicily and Basilicata settled in Argentina around the time that my grandparents came to the USA. I also notice on the "guestbook" of the www.basilicata.com website that there are a lot of postings from Argentinians,and to a lesser extent, from Brazilians, who are exploring their ancestry or interested in visiting the region that their ancestors came from.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/25/2001, 11:16 pm
    Message: Continuing the above….

    Some of the Lucanian immigrants to the USA may have migrated to this country indirectly, after first living a while in some other American countries. This may have been because of the USA’s quota laws. The % limits did not apply to Latin Americans, so Italians might’ve circumvented the quotas by first going to another country, e.g., Argentina, and then attempting the move to the USA. Of course many also remained permanently in Latin America.

    A major cause of the biggest waves of emigration from Lucania was, I think, the system of land ownership and economic exploitation there, as in other parts of southern Italy at the turn of the century. Estates were owned by absentee landlords who lived far away. A lot of them were very political, controlled the peasants’ votes, and influenced taxation and legislation in favor of their own interests. Many of them sided with northern politicians to promote industry in the north, in exchange for leaving the south’s medieval-like economy (which benefited them) untouched by reform. The absentee landlords rented their land to intermediaries, who sublet it to peasants to cultivate, under contract terms that were unfavorable to the peasants. The intermediaries were out to make a profit, so they favored land use practices that exhausted what little fertility the land had, with no concern for conservation or improvement.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 07/31/2001, 11:04 pm
    Message: Hello again,

    I'm posting this info because I got some e-mails asking me for contact info re the tour I took and for info on other tours.

    For info on the tour I took and enjoyed in May-June 2001, and which is being offered in Oct. 2001 and May 2002, write to the organizer at this address: luisa@fnol.net. Or look up this website: www.unexploredworldtours.com

    I know of one other company that offers tours in Basilicata, but they are much more specialized and cover a small portion of the southern part of Basilicata. The company is ATG-Oxford, a British walking tour company which I've heard is outstanding. However, I haven't taken one of their tours yet. ATG's website is: www.alternative-travel.co.uk/ ATG offers the following tours to Lucania:

    Southern Lucano Trail (Journeys series)
    May, June, Sept, Oct
    11 days- $2395
    mainly hiking in Pollino national park in southern Lucania near Calabria

    Southern Lucano Trail (Week Away series)
    June, July, Aug
    8 days- $1110
    I think this is an "economy" version of the "Journeys" trip

    Mushrooms of the Lucano (Walking And series)
    Oct.
    8 days $1760
    walking, mushroom hunting, cooking
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    next posts:

    Author: Elizabeth
    Date: 08/04/2001, 10:36 pm
    Message: Thank you for your interesting and enlightening report. I had thought this to be an almost invisible and desperately poor area. You have opened my eyes.

    My husbands great grandmother Lucia Lacovara was born in Accetura and moved to Cirigliano as a young child.

    We hope to visit someday.

    Would like to find a tour that would allow us time in both those places.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 08/05/2001, 09:34 am
    Message: Elizabeth, it is very unlikely (impossible maybe???) that you'll find a tour that actually goes to both Cirigliano and Accettura. They are not "important" towns.

    The tour I took, as far as I know the only American tour to Basilicata, went to the tiny town of Cirigliano so we could have a glimpse of a traditional "dying" town, which we could then compare with Pignola, a larger small town near Potenza, where we had lunch with a group of young educated men who explained their various projects: organizing interregional and international folkdance and folkmusic exchanges, promoting computer use in Lucania, developing educational shows re Lucanian history, etc. Pignola is not "dying" because its educated young are remaining and many people are able to commute to jobs in Potenza. In Cirigliano, which is in a more remote mountainous area, there is no hope of much work, so one day it will probably be a ghost town. The tour's itinerary changes somewhat with the seasons and through trial and error, and I guess it's possible that some day the May tour may visit Accettura in order to include the festa, which is quite unusual.

    There are also Italian tours (i.e. for italian tourists) that go to Accettura for the festa, and if your Italian is fluent enough you might try hooking up with one of those tours from some city in Italy. When I was in Accettura I saw two busloads of Italian daytrippers. I did not ask them what part of Italy they were from. (I did, however, talk to independent Italian tourists traveling solo and staying the the hotel, who were visiting Accettura to see the famous pagan festa. They were from the Emilia Romagnna region, and from Bernalda, which is in Basilicata near Metaponto.)

    Anyway, I think it's highly unlikely that you'll find a tour that goes to "your" two towns; there are just so many little towns (and so few tours!). However, it is very easy to find people to give you a ride to the little towns that interest you if you want to skip a day of the scheduled tour or simply remain in the region a few days after the tour is over, as I did.
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    Author: Grace
    Date: 08/05/2001, 10:15 am
    Message: I, too, have roots in Basilicata, in the towns of Tito and Picerno. In 1999 I took a trip there with 2 cousins, and kept a little journal of the trip. It was an incredible journey, and I returned again for Easter 2000. The journal is online at http://www.comunesofitaly.org/Stories/Grace.htm if anyone is interested in reading it. Pages 9, 10, and 11 are from Basilicata. The rest of the southern portion of the trip was through Bari Province and the Amalfi Coast/Sorrento. As long as I live, I will never forget the astonihing beauty of Basilicata - the incredible views from those mountaintops are indelibly etched in my brain.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 08/05/2001, 06:35 pm
    Message: Grace, thank you for the link to the website where your trip reports are saved. I enjoyed your spirited account of your experiences. I'm starting to feel like travelers to Lucania are a special breed: what we lack in numbers we make up for in enthusiasm and loyalty to the region.
    Carol
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    more posts

    Author: Mauro
    Date: 08/06/2001, 06:17 pm
    Message: I'm another with roots in Basilicata. I have been there twice once on a tour. During this tour I visited both of home towns of my mother, (Accettura) and my paternal grandfather, (San Mauro Forte). We even stopped in Cirigliano. Spent about a half of a day in each place. Not enough time...But enough to know I wanted to go back. The following year I went back with my sons and nephew. We drove from Napoli to Accettua. We stayed at their one and only hotel. There were two major highlights of or trip. In Accettura We met with the parish priest, who I had met the previous year. Since I was into genealogy I had written him to research my ancestors. I told him our day of arrival and the information I was looking for. He had the same surname as my mother but he did not know if we were related but assumed we were. Well when I arrived he had gotton so engrossed in the research documents that he so engrossed in his documents, went back to 1692. He researched back to my great great great grandfather. Well, my ggggrandfather was also his. We were 4th cousins. I have most of this on video. The next day we went to San Mauro Forte. Here We had relative of a relative act as our tour guide. He brought us to our familys "Cantina". has a little boy watching my father and his paesani make wine in the basement of our home. They would mention the "Cantina" back home. Well I could never imagine what it looked like. Now I was being brought to see it. What I found was a very large cave in the side of the mountain. There was a cobblestone road in front of it as well as a stone barrier between the catina and the side of the road. This was to keep the car from going over the side of the mountain into the valley below. The road had many other caves/catinas along the way, each one with it's own door and padlock. The cantina was about the size of tunnel for one subway car in NYC.
    Inside was the place they made their wine, cheese, dried their peppers, and placed their, before refrigerators. There was an overhead beam with the year 1804 carved into it.
    As well as my father's initial. WOW...this place was in our family for over 200 years. The aroma of the place brought me back to our basement in Corona, Queens....Now understood who they were...and who I am.
    If are like me and have wondered about your roots. Go and visit...and have the time of your life.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 08/10/2001, 06:52 pm
    Message: I just want to let you know that while most of us posting about trips to Lucania have some roots in this region, it is a truly scenic area, rich in history and traditions, that would be likely to appeal to anyone with real interest in unspoiled areas of Europe or the Mediterranean, especially Italy. More than half of the people on my tour had no Lucanian ancestry at all and they also seemed to fall in love with the region.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 08/16/2001, 01:51 pm
    Message: Here's an internet dialogue site for Qs & As and discussions and stories about Basilicata, especially all aspects of its culture, and, of course, travel:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Basilicata_culture

    You need to get yourself a Yahoo ID and password in order to use it.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 08/19/2001, 03:14 pm
    Message: Correction: Apparently some people are able to use the above group site without getting a yahoo ID, if I "invited" them directly by some process that I don't quite understand. I KNOW you can access it if you join it and use a Yahoo ID, and I think if you go there on your own, without some computerized "invitation" you will need to get a Yahoo ID (not hard, and free).
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    Author: cmt - details re festa mentioned in 1st post
    Date: 08/21/2001, 09:33 pm
    Message:
    “Il Maggio,” also called “la festa di Sangiuliano,” is an ancient agrarian festival of pagan origins. It was originally a peasant tree-cult ceremony, which, over the years, was joined by workers and students from the town.

    Much later this archaic tree spring tree festival became combined with a traditional patron saint celebration that took place at roughly the same time. The actual saint’s day festival takes place on the fifty first day after Easter (Tuesday). Therefore, “il maggio” does not always take place in May, despite its name.

    First, an oak tree and a holly tree are selected and cut from the woods around Accettura. On Sunday, men carry the holly to town, while the oak is dragged by 50 pairs of oxen, working in relay. Waiting for the procession of oxen becomes part of the festivities: crowds of people from town and country line the rural wooded route to town to watch the oxen pass, folk musicians entertain, and farmers share their food with passing visitors.

    Once the oak arrives in town early on Sunday evening, there’s a lot of raucous celebration. Then on Monday men begin their work on the trees and on the simple, but skillfully engineered, tools that will eventually lift the “maggio” securely into its traditional spot. Young, old, and middle-aged men work together, the novices and the relatively unskilled led and trained by the experienced and the acknowledged experts. If necessary, they repair or replace the wooden pulley post and the hand-made wooden wheel that will operate the pulleys that raise the “maggio” on Tuesday. Using traditional wood-joining techniques, the men join the oak and the holly in a “marriage” that, according to the ancient tree cult, was intended to ensure a good growing season.

    On Tuesday, the “maggio” (the two trees, now united as one) is dragged into position, then dragged down toward the pulley post, and using a wheel, pulley and guide ropes, it is partly raised into position into its pre-dug spot in the concrete. This spot is surrounded by stone and concrete bleachers, just below one of the town squares. Later in the day, the holiday suddenly turns into a fairly traditional small-town Catholic saint’s festival, as a statue of San Giuliano is carried around town, followed by a crowd demonstrating religious devotion. At the moment when San Giuliano arrives in the square above the site where the “maggio” is securely held in a strange diagonal position, the “maggio” is raised to its full erect position. At that moment this festa combines the pagan and Christian elements.

    Later in the day there are contests centering on the tree. In years past, live game animals used to be hung from the top of the tree where “hunters” shot at them. Today this is no longer allowed! Instead shooters aim at small painted metal tags symbolizing various animals. After the shooting, athletes and daredevils climb the “maggio” and retrieve any metal tags that remain. Each colored tag is linked to a specific prize, e.g., a chicken, a bottle of liquor.

    Every day of the festa the main street in the new part of town is lined with vendors’ stands. Marching bands and small groups of folk musicians play throughout the day, and there’s a concert every night. On the last night there are fireworks. Emigrants who work elsewhere often return to their hometown for the festa, and there are also tourists from other parts of Italy. However, I did not notice any other foreign tourists during the four days I was in the town and did not hear any foreign languages spoken at all.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 08/26/2001, 08:57 am
    Message: topping for Jenny who has a question about travel in the heel and toe of Italy

    Basilicata is the arch of the foot.
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    Author: carol
    Date: 11/17/2001, 08:21 pm
    Message: Shamelessly topping AGAIN, for that group of people who just heard about Basilicata for the first time today at our NYC GTG.

    Author: JD
    Date: 11/18/2001, 07:47 pm
    Message: CMT,
    I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your site and the pictures of Basilicata. It really makes one want to go there and we will seriously be cinsidering it for 2002 trip. After reading 'dancing with Luigi" i developed a great interest in this aea even though I have no roots there
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    Author: Carol
    Date: 11/20/2001, 10:02 am
    Message: JD, If you do go, you will have a chance to see a lovely scenic area, with a culture that has not yet lost all of its old traditions. You probably won't hear any English spoken except by the people you happen to travel with.

    You might be interested in the free guidebooks I mentioned in one of the previous threads. If you would like one and need help ordering it from the tourism office by e-mail, let me know.
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    Author: dem
    Date: 11/20/2001, 09:05 pm
    Message: when is Il Maggio held ?
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    Author: carol
    Date: 11/20/2001, 10:49 pm
    Message: It's usually in May. This year it started June 2. It starts on a Sat. with cutting the two trees, Sunday the trees are carried to town (the oak dragged by 50 pairs of oxen), Mon. the trees are worked on, and Tues. the joined trees are raised and that's the official saint's day. La festa di San Giuliano is the 51st day after Easter, and it coincides with the last day of the 4-day festa del maggio. (The most interesting day to see is definitely Sunday when 100 oxen drag the tree to town form the woods and everyone comes out to watch.)

    I may have posted a full, long description of the entire festa in one of the previous posts. I'll check, and if not, I'll post it now.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 08/26/2001, 08:57 am
    Message: topping for Jenny who has a question about travel in the heel and toe of Italy

    Basilicata is the arch of the foot.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: carol
    Date: 11/17/2001, 08:21 pm
    Message: Shamelessly topping AGAIN, for that group of people who just heard about Basilicata for the first time today at our NYC GTG.

    Author: JD
    Date: 11/18/2001, 07:47 pm
    Message: CMT,
    I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your site and the pictures of Basilicata. It really makes one want to go there and we will seriously be cinsidering it for 2002 trip. After reading 'dancing with Luigi" i developed a great interest in this aea even though I have no roots there
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: Carol
    Date: 11/20/2001, 10:02 am
    Message: JD, If you do go, you will have a chance to see a lovely scenic area, with a culture that has not yet lost all of its old traditions. You probably won't hear any English spoken except by the people you happen to travel with.

    You might be interested in the free guidebooks I mentioned in one of the previous threads. If you would like one and need help ordering it from the tourism office by e-mail, let me know.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Author: dem
    Date: 11/20/2001, 09:05 pm
    Message: when is Il Maggio held ?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Author: carol
    Date: 11/20/2001, 10:49 pm
    Message: It's usually in May. This year it started June 2. It starts on a Sat. with cutting the two trees, Sunday the trees are carried to town (the oak dragged by 50 pairs of oxen), Mon. the trees are worked on, and Tues. the joined trees are raised and that's the official saint's day. La festa di San Giuliano is the 51st day after Easter, and it coincides with the last day of the 4-day festa del maggio. (The most interesting day to see is definitely Sunday when 100 oxen drag the tree to town form the woods and everyone comes out to watch.)

    I may have posted a full, long description of the entire festa in one of the previous posts. I'll check, and if not, I'll post it now.
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    Author: Maryann
    Date: 11/30/2001, 02:21 pm
    Message: I realize this area is basically an unspoiled small rural town, but does it have the modern "niceties" of a big city like Rome such as buses, trains, shopping and hotels?
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    Author: carol
    Date: 12/02/2001, 10:13 am
    Message: Maryann: Basilicata is one of the regions of Italy. It's not just a town. It has only two provinces: Potenza and Matera. The two provincial capitals are the only large cities in the region, but even they are not very large, and are as different from Rome as Trenton is from NYC (but much much much nicer than Trenton). Both Matera and Potenza have good shopping, public transportation to other parts of the region, hotels and plenty of restaurants. There is some public transportation throughout much of Basilicata, but it is not easy getting from place to place by train or bus. In most cases, it's necessary to go to Potenza to take a bus that goes elsewhere, and service might be very infrequent. Many small towns have their own little hotel, sometimes more than one, and every place has SOME good place where a stranger can eat. The restaurants, for the most part, serve excellent food, made with fresh local produce and seasoned in a very tasty way. At its best it is a high quality version of good, robust peasant food. The hotels are fine. Even in Accettura, which is just a little "unimportant" town, I was surprised that the hotel was very comfortable, with good bedding, excellent plumbing, and a good restaurant. So yes, at the moment, except for public transportation, which is too limited to be practical, the region has all the amenities that the average traveler needs, and at the same time, it still has a very traditional feel about it and some really remote areas where the old ways are still practiced.
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    Author: s.fowler
    Date: 12/03/2001, 01:51 pm
    Message: Just a reminder that some of Carol's photos are on the unofficial "fodorite" page. Go to http://traveurope.net/fodorite/fodor.htm and click on pictures
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 12/31/2001, 02:02 pm
    Message: Joanne, there are some other books mentioned here, and also a few others topics that might interest you.
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    Author: Joanne
    Date: 12/31/2001, 02:10 pm
    Message: Carol: I had read parts of this thread previously because of our interest in Basilicata, but have now bookmarked it for future reference. Will check out the books when I have some time to really enjoy it!

    Thanks again.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 01/26/2002, 09:17 pm
    Message: Some people who e-mailed me seemed very much interested in the pagan tree festival that I saw last May. It is possible that a revised version of the tour I took last year, which will probably be repeated this May, will include the festa del maggio in Accettura. Some of you who are not totally opposed to tours may want to consider it. However, the itinerary isn't definite yet.
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    Author: jan
    Date: 02/12/2002, 09:25 am
    Message: Just thought I'd add a little to this dialogue about the forgotten but beautiful Southern Italy region. I went with my mother, her sister and husband, a brother and a cousin in 1997 to discover our roots. My grandfather was from San Giovanni di Gerace in Calabria. (My grandmother was from Brusciano outside of Naples, which we also visited, a sad area now.) We met up with a distant cousin from the neighboring and larger Gerace, and he was our "guide" for a couple of days. We stayed in Siderno, located on the gorgeous Ionian Sea, and could see the acropolis of Gerace in the evenings. It was a fascinating trip, no official tour needed. We did our own exploring. We also found the people of this region to be exceedingly helpful and friendly, wanting desperately to promote their area which was "stinking" with Greek ruins, as my aunt liked to put it. And beautiful.

    There is more information about this familial trip on a website my brother created at www.traveljack.net. He felt compelled to actually write a book about our journey, and it's a pretty fascinating(and well-written) account of the feelings Italy conjured up for him. Unfortunately it's not all posted on the site, but you can email him from it if you're interested.

    He went again a year or two later and got deeper into the region, wrote another account, but has yet to post it.

    But, as Carol says, GO!! It's a real "feel" for the country you will be left with, visiting this long, but no longer, neglected part of Italy. I cannot wait to go back someday.

    I love Italy.
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    Author: Carol
    Date: 03/13/2002, 06:42 pm
    Message: Shamelessly topping again, because I would like people to know about this underappreciated area. There will be a tour going there again this May. If anyone is interested, I can pass the info along to you. It's a little different from the tour I took last year (in some ways improved, e.g., Metaponto added to the itinerary), but in most ways pretty similar.
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    Author: xxxx
    Date: 04/20/2002, 01:24 pm
    Message: I think the person mentioned in Jan's post above wrote an article for the latest issue of Italy with Us, the internet newsletter about Italy.
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    Author: Deborah
    Date: 06/04/2002, 05:03 am
    Message: Carol, thanks for your committed posts about Basilicata; I've just discovered them. I'll be going to a meeting in Maratea in early July. Alas, I don't speak Italian, but I'd love to use some of my free time to explore more of the region. Any local guides? Suggested itineraries? Sorry to miss the recent festas [I'm an anthropologist], but am interested in all things cultural. Thanks!
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    Author: carol
    Date: 06/06/2002, 06:11 pm
    Message: Deborah: I replied by e-mail in more detail. Maratea is possibly the most touristy spot in Basilicata. There should be many Italian and foreign vacationers there in summer. I'd guess that there will probazbly be tours, drivers for hire, and othe services that toruists tend to want. If you have time to go to the more areas of the region, you may find that you're the only foreigner around for miles. as I said in my e-mail, you might want to access thre Yahoo Basilicata culture group site and look up the list of links to websites that I listed under the "bookmarks" file. You can also read the old messages and possibly e-mail some of the posteers who sound like they might have helpful info for you.
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    Author: tonyccc
    Date: 06/10/2002, 11:13 pm
    Message: Deborah;
    You're posting mentioned that you'll be in Matera in early July
    Hopefully, you will be there on July 2nd for the Festa de Bruna
    Sagra di Santa Bruna a most strange
    and unforgettable Festa.
    See my posting from last June
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    Author: Deborah
    Date: 06/11/2002, 02:58 am
    Message: Tony, alas I won't arrive till July 8! I enjoyed, and envied, your earlier post. Next time I'll have to check the saint's day calendar first!
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    Author: carol
    Date: 06/13/2002, 03:48 pm
    Message: Deborah, I didn't realize you would be going to Matera as well as Maratea. You don't plan to do it as a day trip from Maratea, do you? (Or do you?) I was there for only part of a day on a tour, but felt it was worth a lot more time and attention.
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    Author: jan
    Date: 08/12/2002, 09:33 pm
    Message: Yes, that was my brother mentioned in an April post who has now had 2 articles on the "Italy with Us" website. Definitely worth your time to check out if you're interested in this region. His name is Jack Renshaw. Check it out. And go to Calabria! You'll never regret it.
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    Author: Michelle
    Date: 08/25/2002, 11:50 pm
    Message: Dear Carol & others:
    Thank you for your info on Basilicata. I too have grandparents from that region: the town of Moliterno in Potenza. There is very little information here in the US, but a few years back the APT in Potenza sent me tons of touring booklet, maps etc. I am taking the plunge this October and taking my 80 year old mother to Moliterno. So we are really excited!!! We are starting in Venice and working our way south, so wish luck!!
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    Author: Helen Donegan
    Date: 08/26/2002, 12:36 am
    Message: I have an article about Basilicata coming up in the September issue of Italy With Us.

    A lovely gentleman from the US writes about his visits to the area to discover the places his grandparents grew up in.

    I have also been persuading the tourist office in the region to give me more information about events there to put into the events section of the IWU site.

    They do have a great site which gives good information about every town in English:
    http://www.aptbasilicata.it/modules.php?name=comuni
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    Author: MaryC
    Date: 08/29/2002, 12:10 am
    Message: Oooh, sounds wonderful, Carol. Thank you for the tip!

    For once, a place that's completely off-the-beaten track. : )
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    Author: kate
    Date: 08/29/2002, 01:59 pm
    Message: Carol--your joy in travelling in Basilicata is infectious--we are going
    in Oct.and going on to Apulia--cannot wait
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    Author: mel
    Date: 08/29/2002, 10:22 pm
    Message: Your trip to Basilicata sounds great! I have to confess I had no prior knowledge of this part of Italy before reading your posts. I have a trip that I am planning for April 5-12, 2003 and I don't have a location yet. The festas you all describe sound wonderful. How can I find out if there are any local fesivals happening in April??
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    Author: Bill
    Date: 08/29/2002, 11:12 pm
    Message: Another trip planned for October, I see with the link on "your" website, Carol...

    http://www.unexploredworldtours.com/basilicatatour.htm

    Is this your company?
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    Author: Michelle
    Date: 08/30/2002, 12:58 am
    Message: To Mel:

    Check the previous post -- about 4 or 5 up for the aptbasilicata.it web site. They have lots of info and events listed for all the towns.

    To Bill:

    No, I don't think Carol is involved with that tour company--she did take one of their tours to the area. I'm on their mailing list and the October tour has been cancelled due to lack of interest. But hopefully there will be something in 2003.

    Let's hope Rick Steves doesn't "discover" this area, it will be ruined!

    Regards, Michelle
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    Author: MaryC
    Date: 08/31/2002, 03:53 pm
    Message: Hey, I just saw another Connolly! Kate?? Hello!!
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    Author: Michelle
    Date: 10/06/2002, 10:38 pm
    Message: Will be leaving this Wednesday for Italy and Basilicata is on our agenda. Will let you know how it goes!!!
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    Author: carol
    Date: 11/24/2002, 09:03 am
    Message: Has anyone been there recently? If you went alone, how did you find driving to small hilltop towns on rugged mountain roads? If with a tour, what company?

    In answer to a previous post, no, I'm not involved with ANY tour company, but I did take a tour to Basilicata as I described, and I think the tour will be offered again next May. I am not aware of too many tours to the region. Besides the one that I took, there is a hiking tour in Pollino park/nature preserve in southern Basilicata that is offered by a British tour company, ATG-Oxford, which has a very good reputation. I've heard that this Pollino tour is beautiful but extremely strenuous. There used to be a short (5 days, I think) tour mainly to Puglia, which also went to one or two places in Basilicata, but it doesn't seem to be offered for 2003. It was offered by Italian Connection, a company based in Canada, which gives OUTSTANDING, very intelligently planned small-group tours in Sicily (I just took one and spoke to people who've taken others). (And no, that's not my company either--I'm not in the travel business at all, unfortunately, and must just scrape by on my limited vacation days each year.)
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    Author: Steve James
    Date: 11/24/2002, 09:19 am
    Message: Hi Carol - Ben tornata!

    I hope you had a wonderful time in Sicily. I see Etna's still spitting fire this morning. Did you see it?
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    Author: Carol
    Date: 11/24/2002, 09:37 am
    Message: Yes, I had a great time. I was on my own for a week, then took an excellent 7-person tour for the second week. I managed to get to "my" town again and spent two nights at an agriturismo on the outskirts of the little mountain town in the Nebrodi Mts. where half my ancestors lived. The variety (in terms of history, geography, types of towns and accommodations, cooking styles, varying sounds of the dialect, even climate) I experienced in just two weeks on a single island was incredible. I thought November might not be such a great time to visit, but I got there just in time to see the olive harvest in several places and also saw two olive mills in action, where waiting for the family's or the farm's oil is quite an "event." Will e-mail later.
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    Author: Michelle
    Date: 11/24/2002, 05:12 pm
    Message: In October, my mother, sister and I rented a car in Salerno, spent one night near Paestum, then headed to Basilicata to find our roots. My mother's parents came from a small town in Potenza called Moliterno. I had an excellent map from the Basilicata tourist board which shows every village, road and donkey trail. However, we still screwed up and missed our exit off the Autostrada. So I decided to take the next exit, down about 10 miles and take a yellow(smaller)road to Moliterno. It probably added an extra 45 minutes to our trek. The road winded through the rugged hills and was basically one lane. It was in fair shape with washed out areas. We stopped a shepard with his sheep and goats and got an idea that we still had a long way to go.

    We finally reached Moliterno. It was a real thrill for my mother to see the town she had always heard so much about from her mother. Mom is 81 and her parents left there in 1913, never to return.

    We found a hotel, wandered and drove up to the old town. There is a ruin of a Norman castle plus the old churches dating to the 1600s and 1700s. We asked about our relatives, but everyone we spoke to had only lived in the town less than 5 years. Finally, at the cemetary, we asked two old ladies in black if they knew our family. We had to use the family nickname, Famiglia de Sette and Amaride(?) for them to figure it out. Sure enough, they knew my grandmothers neices and nephews.

    To make a long story short. We met our cousins the next day and had lunch with them. They own the butcher shop so we had great sausage. They could not believe an American, my mother, could speak their dialect, Moliternese. We said out good byes and hope to keep in touch.

    As far as the driving, on the way back to Salerno we used the "red"(bigger)road on the map. Much better and quicker. I think it would have been hard to do this by myself. My sister drove and I navigated. I hope we can do it again an spend more time in the area. We barely got an intro to the region.

    Michelle

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    Author: Carol
    Date: 12/01/2002, 11:58 am
    Message: Michelle, I'm glad you were able to get a quick taste of this region including your ancestors' town. I also thought that some of the materials given out free by the Basilicata tourist office were excellent. I just looked up Moliterno on my Italy map. It looks like it is fairly near some lakes that looked very beautiful and unspoiled as I was passing through. I'm very surprised that you found all those people who'd only lived in Moliterno a few years. I didn't think people usually moved TO these towns. so many move away to the large cities, especially in the north, or other countries. Is there some industry in the town that is making the town a magnet for newcomers seeking jobs?
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    Author: Michelle
    Date: 12/01/2002, 05:46 pm
    Message: Dear Carol:

    Moliterno is somewhat of a summer vacation resort. They have a very large sports center. I believe it is cooler there in the summer, thus the vacation draw. One man had moved there from Calabria and ran a cell phone and computer store. The others were running the newest and largest hotel in town. They were from either Calabria or Naples. We were able to gather that the old time locals, like our cousins, thought this new hotel was not good and had lousy food. The town is also a business center: banks, shopping, etc. for the smaller villages nearby.

    I hope we can make another trip some day.

    Michelle

    Author: carol
    Date: 12/09/2002, 04:50 pm
    Message: That's interesting. while the town may lose some of its traditional look, at least it may survive economically, and it will be a very good thing if there's enough different kinds of work in town so that many people can stay and make a living there. some of the old towns remain very pretty and traditional in appearance, but there's nothing to keep people there, and they are becoming ghost towns.
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    Author: cmt
    Date: 02/03/2003, 07:43 pm
    Message: It would be nice if Fodors would index this thread so that it can be retrieved via a word search for "Basilicata" or "Lucania."
    This is a beautiful, rugged, relatively unspoiled part of Italy where many of the old folkways and ancient celebrations are still very much alive. it's probably not a destination for a first or second or even third trip to Italy, but people who have seem many of the more famous spots in Italy might find a trip to this less known region very rewarding.
    That's why I am topping this thread now and then, and I see that others are also helping me by topping it occasionally. It seems that quite a few of the people who have traveled to Basilicata or who are considering going there have posted on this thread, so it may be a helpful one, if only it would come up in a normal search for the name of the region.
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    I am curious to know whethe anyone has visited this region recently. I reas so many people's comments expressing fears about being in a foreign country during times of war and terrorism. Sometimes I think about Basilicata, and how comparatively safe and peaceful it can be there.

  • Report Abuse

    Dear Carol:

    I got an e-mail recently from Luisa Potenza: they have cancelled their May trip to Basilicata because of the war. I thought this was a shame since it is probably one of the safest places to be right now!! Hope to go back some day with my husband and daughter.

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    What a shame to have canceled a trip to Basilicata because of the war. I was there last month during the bleakest days of the war and had no problem whatsoever. In fact, I can think of no safer place to be than some remote Lucan village. Besides the food is outstanding in its purity and wholesomeness and the people genuine and friendly. Plus if you want the most for your tourist dollar, Basilicata is more than a bargain, it is a steal.

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    I missed these last few posts.

    Michelle: It's too bad the tour was cancelled. I agree that Basilicata would've been one of the safest places to be during times of war, terrorism, or general world-wide craziness. Unfortunately I think the tour tends to be publicized primarily among people who want to visit the region of their ancestral origins, even though I think the area would be tremendously appealing to a much broader range of curious and adventurous people who would appreciate experiencing some of the traditional ways that are not easy to find in the 21st century in western Europe.

    Sicula: I told you so! If you happen to come back to this htread, why not post about your unplanned excursion into this region (and right during the beginning of the Iraq war!).

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    For anyone who's interested: The weekend coming up will be the one for the festa del maggio in the town of Accettura in the region of Basilicata. (It is always seven weeks after Easter.) I described this festival earlier in this thread as a traditional celebration with very strong elements of ancient pagan tree worship. The celebration ends next Tuesday (June 10) will be the actual patron saint's day, la festa di San Giuliano. So if you're a real jet setter who can travel on short notice and you have an interest in traditional folkways, Accettura is the place to go next weekend!

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    Dear CMT:

    I recently got an e-mail from Luisa: they are trying to plan a trip to Basilicata in September. Hopefully they can get this one filled up. Not a great time of year for us on the farm!!

    MichelleY

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    Michelle: I hope her tour does go this time, too. I'd had to see the region overrun by huge groups and ruined by too much commercialism, but it would be nice if it could have the economic benefit of SOME tourism. Many people--not just ones with roots in the region--would love the small traditional towns and the rugged landscape and the pageantry of the festivals.

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    Today is the big last day of the festa del maggio in Accettura, when the pagan and Christian elements of the festival meet. (since description of the festival earlier in this thread for details of what happens each day, if interested.) Actually, since it's 3:30 p.m. there now, I guess it has already happened.

    Michelle: I heard that the next tour may be in October.

    I'm curious whether anyone is aware of any other English-speaking tours of Basilicata besides the one I took and tht Michelle has been mentioning. I am aware of two Basilicata tours offered by ATG (Alternative Travel Group)-Oxford, a British walking tour company. One is a hiking tour in the Pollino park, and the other is a hiking and mushroon hunting tour in an area of Basilicata. I've never taken a tour with ATG, but I've heard from someone who has taken several that the Pollino trip is wonderful and beautiful, but extremely strenuous (difficult hiking and at high altitudes besides). There used to be a very small group tour mainly in Puglia, which also went to a little bit of Basilicata, which was offered by Italian Connection, a small company owned by an American (USA) and an Italian. (This is VERY good company--I took a Sicily tour with them.) But the publia/Basilicata tour is not listed among the offerings in their current catalogue, although I know that Italian Connection does do custom tours. I did a search on Google and found several Italian-speaking tours in Basilicata. For people who are not daring drivers, and who do not want to miss little hill towns perched high up on the rocks like Pietrapertosa, tours are a good option.

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    Thanks Carol! I've been to 17 other regions in Italy, but not Basilicata or Calabria. Planning my first trip to both for next May. I remembered this thread but was having difficulty finding it. Apprecicate all your original info and your recent cut and paste effort.

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    That sounds like a great plan. I haven't been to Calabria (except passing through, with one night in Paola, when I was 16) and would love to go. If you are going to be in Basilicata in the 7th week after Easter (don' know when it falls in 2004), you should try to go to Acccettura to see the festa del maggio.

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    Russ: I think it will take place at the end of May next year. Maybe you can see it. May 29 should be the cutting of the trees. Sunday, May 30 should be when the men drag the holly to town and the 50 pairs of oxen, in relay, drag the oak all the way from the forest to the town, with crowds watching and eating and musicians playing music all day along the path. If I'm right about the dates, then May 31 the townspeople will work on the trees, peeling them, carving them to join them together, hooking up the ropes, and Tusday, June should be the saint's day (SanGiuliano) when there is a procession with the saint, and just when the saint statue arrives in the square, the joined trees, now one (married) are raised to an upright postion with pulleys. Then after that there are contests: climbing the pole, shooting at targets in the tree for prizes (in the old days they were live game animals hung from the tree :( !). The Sunday is really interesting to see: very pagan feeling and unusual.

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    I don't think Bob the Nav did a trip report on Basilicata. (It would be odd if he went there and NEVER posted on this long running thread.) Possibly you're confusing it with other parts of southern Italy that he DID definitely visit. But if there IS some trip report on Basilicata that you think is of interest, if you'd like to direct our attention to it, why not post a link to the specific web location of the report here on this thread?

    By the way, I find the SlowTrav site extremely difficult to navigate. I don't know whether it's the way the topics are organized or the thread headings or the tedious way of plodding through the threads, or the sparseness of topics but it is just not very easy to use. A friend was steering toward that site when I was planning my recent trip to northern Italy, but I just found it very frustrating and slow to use. (So THAT's why it's called SLOWtrav maybe.)

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    After rereading it you are so right. he skirted the area on his trip.
    You can always read Carlos Levy's book, " Christ Stopped at Eboli" for a little local viewpoint. It may be a little dated, however.

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    Topping for someone (sfarah?) who posted an unanswered question recently re a trip to parts of Basilicata. I'm not sure that her planned destinations are covered in this thread, but they might be.

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    The original thread fell out of the indexing system, and apparently the Fodors people didn't know how to fix the problem. I finally reposted almost the enetire thread, resulting in this thread. Now THIS thread has also fallen out of the indexing and does not come up in a search.

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    Hi Carol and others
    We will be visiting Italy in November and are trying to find a place to stay in the Montemurro area if possible. When we went on our honeymoon 21 yrs ago we visited this town as well as San Chirico Reparo which are the towns my grandparents were born in.We ended up camping for a night in a goat pasture! (But it was romantic!) Now we are visiting with our three teenagers! They want a B & B and frankluy I don't want to camp in November!
    HOW can I find out about any agritourismos or B & B's from the U.S.?
    Thanks for any help.
    Yolanda

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    I just did a basic Google search for an agriturismo in Montemurro and found this: http://www.prodottitipici.com/scheda.php?tab=agriturismo&id=2483 (Note the correct spelling of "agriturismo" for Google searches.) If I were in your situation I would also write to the comune asking advice re places to stay. There may be some list of guest houses in town or in the countryside near town, or some friendly may enjoy giving you other helpful and detailed information. Did you also do a search for hotels in Montemurro and nearby towns on www.basilicata.com?

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    Hi Carol,
    I did look at the web sites and did find one agriturismo in Montemurro. No luck with the email address and no English so I am lost there... I hope we can stay when we arrive. They will probably not be busy in november but they may also be closed!
    How do I contact the commune?
    I also have tried to get more detailed maps from both the DC embassy and the Italian tourist board in NY but neither has maps of Basilicata...any books you know of? We have ok maps now.

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    I don't know whether the agriturismo that you found is the same one that I posted a link to above. If not, use the link that I posted in the above post to you. Then copy and paste the name of the agriturismo into a Google search (in quotes), and you will find several other web pages about this place, along with full contact information.

    I wouldn't count on finding places that will communicate with you by e-mail. When I was in Basilicata four years ago, there were not many computers in use, but there was a big regional comapign for "Un computer in ogni casa." Most people found it mystifying, because having a computer was the farthest thing from their minds. It wasn't even that common for businesses to have computer. and I didn't notice any internet cafes either (I wasn't looking ofr one, bust someone else was). Maybe the computer situation has changed, but still, I think you are better off communicating by phone. However, at a small agriturismo in a non-touristy area, the owners will probably not speka English, so if you don't speak Italian, you want want to have someone help you make the call.

    I would communicate with the comune in writing (in Italian) by regular postal mail. There are several websites that give the numerical postal code for every comune in every region. You need to put the two-letter code for the province (which in your case I think Potenza) after the name of the town on the envelope, but you don't need to write the name of the region. I wrote to one little town in Sicily, the person who answered happened to be a cousin of mine. he identified himself, gave me his phone number, wrote about his feelings about the town, and invited me to visit him. Several years later when I took a trip to Sicily, I stayed in a little agriturismo on the outskirts of the town and I visited this cousin. He showed ne around the town, introduced me to people, and the next day, when other cousins who no longer lived in town came to visit, we all took a daytrip together to Tindari. When I wrote to a little town in Basilicata (Accettura) around the same time, I got an answer from the mayor, who sent me a packet of fascinating information about la festa del maggio, a four-day traditional festival with ancient tree-cult origins. When I wrote again a few years later before taking a trip there (just in time to stay for the festa del maggio), I got an answer from the person in charge of birth and death records, who gave me info on how to get to th town by bus and who had researched and found that I had one relative in town--a 5th or 6th cousin. This nice town employee met me when I arrived, intoroduced me to his own cousins and various other townspeople and to my cousin.

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