For the Easter holidays, in Murgia Timone three crosses have been risen again in the exact point where Mel Gibson, at the end of 2003, has shot the scene of the Crucifixion while filming “The passion of the Christ”.

Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter!

Three crosses at Murgia Timone

Three crosses at Murgia Timone- closer view

The area of what is now Matera has been continually inhabited since the Palaeolithic and it is considered one of the oldest settlement in the Mediterranean region.
The city was probably founded by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, with the name of Mateola after the consul Metellus. However, there are many theories concerning the etymology of this toponym and it is hard to say which one is correct: for example, some sources affirm that the toponym derives from Methera, the compound of the place names METaponto and HERAclea, two Greek colonies situated on the Ionian Coast; others suggest that the city has been called by the Greeks Mataia Ole (from mataios olos, meaning empty all) with reference to the particular conformation of the area; finally some scholars claim that it could also derive from Mata, a term very common in Southern Italy, which means heaps of rocks.

Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the Sassi (meaning stones ), two quarters carved into the calcareous rock: the Sasso Caveoso, bearing this name because it is made up of hundreds of caves, and the Sasso Barisano, probably so called because it has been built toward the city of Bari.
It is said that the Sassi are an example of the so called negative architecture in the sense that its houses have been built taking away the material (by excavation) instead of adding it. However, if you compare the two quarters’ architecture, you can spot a difference: in the oldest part of the Sasso Caveoso, you will notice that many of those “houses” are really only caverns, and the streets often are located on the rooftops of other houses; instead in the Sasso Barisano, we find a more “advanced” architecture, with small buildings,arches etc.

On the other side of the canyon there are also many caverns, once inhabited by people. But they remained most of the time in the shade in humid caves, what made life difficult, especially in winter. That’s why the inhabitants moved to the other, more sunny side of the Murgia, in the area where nowadays Sassi are located.

Today we add a “photo tour” of Matera- we invite you to see it, more photos will be added later. We also invite you to visit our blog in the next few days- in the first episode of our virtual excursions, we will tell you about Matera and its famous quarters, “Sassi”.

Today we would like to show you some photos taken at Murgia Timone, near Matera. Murgia is an extensive plateau , mostly located in Puglia and only partly extended on Basilicata’s territory. Murgia fascinates with its space and beauty of nature, but it is also a perfect panoramic point for a breathtaking view of Matera and its famous quarters- the Sassi.


Enjoy the photos 🙂


If you speak Italian, you will be surely interested in the Basilicata’s daily newspaper that we recommend today, Il Quotidiano della Basilicata. You can download the daily paper everyday starting at 6 p.m. just by entering the site and clicking on the front page.  After that, you will be able to read about 50 pages of news from the world, Italy and, of course, Basilicata. We highly recommend it!

And if you don’t speak Italian, just visit our blog and you will find the translation of the most important articles 🙂

Basilicata (capital city Potenza, second most important city Matera), also named Lucania, is the only Italian region with two names (the first being the official, the second the historic name). Its inhabitants are still called, due to the ancient name, Lucani.

The old region of Lucania was so called from the people Lucani by whom it was conquered about the middle of the 5th century BC. Later, its eastern coast was partly colonized by the Greeks, being included in the Magna Graecia. The etymology of the name Lucania remains still uncertain: it could mean “the land of wolves”, due to the large number of wolves that inhabited this area in the old times (lupus– wolf), or “the land of forests”, because of the extensive forests that overgrew this range once (lucus– forest), or the land conquered by the people who followed the sun (from the Indo-European word luc meaning light) And… many more! 🙂

The name Basilicata for the first time appears written in a document from XII century- even though it’s been used way before, since X century. Most likely it derives from the Byzantine emperor’s name Basilio II, or, according to another theory, from the Greek word basileus/ bazyleus, what meant king, master.

The actual Basilicata’s borders do not correspond with those of the ancient Lucania, the latter including some territories now belonging to the region Campania. Contemporary Basilicata’s shores are lapped by the sea both in the eastern (Ionian Sea) and western part (Tyrrhenian Sea). The central and southern part of the region is covered with mountains, with its 2267 m summit Serra Dolcedorme and the biggest National Park in Italy- Parco nazionale del Pollino). The Eastern part is covered with hills and hillocks, while ,close the the eastern coast, we find the biggest plain of the region. In Basilicata there are also some lakes (San Giuliano, Monte Cotugno, Pertusillo), and rivers ( Bradano, Basento, Agri, Sinni). This unusual variety of landscape offers almost infinite possibilities of discovering the beauties of Lucania.

Basilicata is also a dream place for those interested in archeology- its roots reaches the prehistory! The oldest traces results from Palaeolithic period ( animal’s remains near Venosa, everyday use objects found in the caves of Matera, and much more …).

Despite all that, Basilicata is not yet a mainstream destination for tourists. We will show you that travelling across Basilicata has a taste of adventure, that here you’ll feel like an explorer of the old times, and that the overwhelming variety of landscape will allow you to be by the seaside, in the mountains and by the lake almost at the same time 🙂

If you love to get to know extraordinary places and discover what is genuine and out of mainstream tourism, then our blog is the right place for you! We want to take you in a trip full of colours, tastes, traditions and unforgettable landscapes. Basilicata remains still undiscovered, distant, full of mystery. Let yourself feel like a consummate traveller and discover all its secrets!

We will offer you articles regarding culture, traditions and history, as well as tips for your trip. We will suggest you what’s the best to see, including interesting cultural events and everything you would like to know but you can’t find it in a guide.

We want to enable you to know Basilicata with all your senses- that’s why we will show you photos, receipts of regional cuisine and we will make you familiar with a kind of music you have never heard before.

Ready? Let our trip begin!