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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

Aug 5th, 2001, 03:35 PM
  #41  
cmt
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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
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 03:17 PM
  #42  
Mauro
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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.
 
Aug 10th, 2001, 03:52 PM
  #43  
cmt
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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.
 
Aug 16th, 2001, 10:51 AM
  #44  
cmt
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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 youself a Yahoo ID and password in order to use it.
 
Aug 19th, 2001, 12:14 PM
  #45  
cmt
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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).
 
Aug 21st, 2001, 06:33 PM
  #46  
details re festa mentioned in 1st post
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“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.
 
Aug 26th, 2001, 05:57 AM
  #47  
cmt
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topping for Jenny who has a question about travel in the heel and toe of Italy

Basilicata is the arch of the foot.
 
Nov 17th, 2001, 05:21 PM
  #48  
carol
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Shamelessly topping AGAIN, for that group of people who just heard about Basilicata for the first time today at out GTG.
 
Nov 18th, 2001, 04:47 PM
  #49  
JD
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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
 
Nov 20th, 2001, 07:02 AM
  #50  
Carol
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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 guidegooks 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.
 
Nov 20th, 2001, 06:05 PM
  #51  
dem
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when is Il Maggio held ?
 
Nov 20th, 2001, 07:49 PM
  #52  
carol
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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 ozen), 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.
 
Nov 20th, 2001, 07:51 PM
  #53  
carol
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Dem, see post on Aug. 21 at 9:33.
 
Nov 30th, 2001, 11:21 AM
  #54  
Maryann
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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?
 
Dec 2nd, 2001, 07:13 AM
  #55  
carol
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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.
 
Dec 3rd, 2001, 10:51 AM
  #56  
s.fowler
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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
 
Dec 18th, 2001, 11:38 AM
  #57  
topper
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ttt
 
Dec 27th, 2001, 08:23 AM
  #58  
ohoh
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Topping for mar...
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 11:02 AM
  #59  
cmt
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Joanne, there are some other books mentioned here, and also a few others topics that might interest you.
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 11:10 AM
  #60  
Joanne
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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.

j
 

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