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

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

Jul 11th, 2001, 11:19 PM
  #21  
russ i
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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.
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 10:33 AM
  #22  
carol
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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.
 
Jul 15th, 2001, 04:01 PM
  #23  
Carol
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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.)
 
Jul 16th, 2001, 05:53 PM
  #24  
carol
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still shamelessly topping

(At least I admit it!)
 
Jul 18th, 2001, 07:05 AM
  #25  
Mauro
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Carol,
Thanks for directing me to this site. Sounds like a listing of people that Luisa would be interested in reading about.

Mauro
 
Jul 18th, 2001, 09:08 PM
  #26  
cmt
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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:
[email protected] (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.)
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 02:36 PM
  #27  
Marly
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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.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 09:51 PM
  #28  
Carol
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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.
 
Jul 20th, 2001, 04:02 PM
  #29  
cmt
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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!
 
Jul 20th, 2001, 04:22 PM
  #30  
JOdy
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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.
 
Jul 20th, 2001, 09:41 PM
  #31  
Marly
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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?
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 04:46 PM
  #32  
cmt
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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.
 
Jul 23rd, 2001, 11:56 AM
  #33  
cmt
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I think many emigrants also settled in suth 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 visitng the region that their ancestors came from.
 
Jul 25th, 2001, 08:16 PM
  #34  
cmt
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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.
 
Jul 28th, 2001, 05:23 PM
  #35  
cmt
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Calling Marly....
 
Jul 31st, 2001, 07:16 AM
  #36  
topper
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to the top
 
Jul 31st, 2001, 08:04 PM
  #37  
cmt
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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: [email protected]. 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
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 07:36 PM
  #38  
Elizabeth
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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.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 06:34 AM
  #39  
cmt
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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 Emiglia 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.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 07:15 AM
  #40  
Grace
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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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