Calciano. Among arid hills and landscape, Calciamo resembles the desert southwest of the US. Its cluster of houses are grouped on the hill, with the ruins of Medieval Caucium’s fortifications still visible. The old church from that era is in ruins but a fresco of Christ is still visible. The church of San Giovanni has a beautiful altarpiece painted by Bartolomeo da Pistoia.
Surnames from Calciano:Auletta, Benevento, Innella, Atlante, Germano, De Filippo.
Calvello. The circular historic center spirals up the hilltop, culminating at the old castle. There are still craftsmen workshops here; it has been known for its quality ceramics production since the Middle Ages. The town is overlooked by Mt. Volturino where there are chestnut woods and ski runs.
Some surnames from Calvello:Gallicchio, Larocca, Vitaccia, Ancarola, De Stefano, Pietrantuono.
Campomaggiore. The ruins of the old town are more fascinating than the modern one built to replace it after landslides drove the inhabitants a few kilometers away. The ghost town of Campomaggiore Vecchio has an open air art installation of sculptures in its midst, and is the scene of an annual multimedia play called Utopia. Modern Campomaggiore is known for its quality olive oil and honey.
Surnames from Campomaggiore:Caprara, Trivigno, Paternoster, Santoro, Moles, Zotta.
Cancellara. A panoramic country town with a vividly frescoed church, nice views and a necropoli from the 5th century BC. Finds from the excavations at Serra del Carpine are displayed in the Archeology Museum in Potenza. The graceful main street, Via Veneto, is graced with grand portals. The town is capped by its medieval castle.
Surnames from Cancellara: Basile, Biscione, Cillo, Caputo, Genzano, Saracino, Peloso.
Castelgrande. Ruins of an Angevin castle and megalithic walls from the 5th century BC are a couple of the attractions at Castelgrande. So is the observatory Singao outside town, ruins of a Bronze Age village, and Lake Saetta.
Surnames from Castelgrande:Cristiano, Muro, Federici, Masi, Cianci, Coppola, Gasparrini.
Castelluccio Superiore. A dramatic setting above the Mercure Valley near the Pollino National Park holds the old town. Houses cling to the steep hill. An ancient Lucanian village was located here a few millennia ago. There is a solitary sanctuary on the mountain outside town.
Surnames from Castelluccio:Gioia, Gazaneo, Celano, Crispino, Altieri, Cosentino, Rubino.
Castelmezzano. This is a perfectly preserved old town because until the post-war period, it remained largely isolated. It is one of the most beautiful towns in Basilicata, resting against the spire peaks of the Dolomiti Lucane mountains. It looks like it grew spontaneously out of the rock itself. It is an adventurer’s delight, with rock climbing, hiking in the steep canyon, and the high-flying Volo dell’Angelo zip line. Look for the templar symbols in the main church.
Common surnames from Castelmezzano:Beneventi, Santoro, Valluzzi, Martoccia, Trivigno, Cafarelli.
Castelsaraceno. It was a Saracen stronghold, which gave the town its name. The town grew up originally around a Basilian monastery. There is a baron’s palace from the 15th century. It rests in a pretty setting surrounded by woods and hills with gorgeous panoramas. Mountain biking and hiking are popular in the hills and canyons.
Surnames from Castelsaraceno: Cirigliano, Lardo, Latronico, Iacovino, Candia, Iannella.
Chiaromonte. Named for the Neapolitan noble family that ruled the area as feudal lords, the town keeps its medieval character with its defensive walls and castle. It was closely tied to Fardella and Teana, nearby villages, in the same feudal territory. There is anthropology museum, and finds from the ancient Lucani and Greeks are in the museum in Policoro. An acropolis dating to the 9th century BC was found.
Surnames from Chiaromonte:De Salvo, Viola, Ciminelli, Vitale, Cicale, De Noia.
Cirigliano. Located in the Gallipoli Cognato national park there are fantastic rock formations around this town. Named for a Roman centurion named Cerellio, it has the distinction of being the smallest town in Basilicata. A stone cylindrical tower from the 1500s still stands proudly. The Chapel of the Madonna della Grotta was carved by hand into the rock by a penitent brigand. The Lucania Outdoor Park offers adventurous fun for kids and adults alike.
Some common surnames in Cirigliano:Urgo, De Lorenzo, Fortuna, Capalbi, Cirelli, Villone.
Colobraro. The sentinal of the Val Sinni sitting above the river valley is a maze of lanes and stair-stepped streets. The countryside is patched with olive groves, woods and spanish broom. It was enriched with a baron’s palace and adjoining chapel in the 1200s. Weaving and farming were the primary trades.
Surnames from Colobraro: Modarelli, Fortunato, Mango, D’Oronzio, Labriola, Bruno.
Corleto Perticara. On a bluff between the Sauro and Fiumarella rivers, it sits at the crossroads between the mountains of central Basilicata, the Sauro valley and canyonlands around Aliano. There are a couple of charming chapels in the woods outside town, the Madonna del Sauro and the Madonna della Stella, which is celebrated with a feast day in May.
Surnames from Corleto Perticara:Montano, Lapenta, Toce, Donnoli, Stoppelli, Massaro
Craco. A fantastical town without inhabitants, Craco is surreal and has been used for several films. The hulking outlines of once-grand buildings stand on the hill, abandoned in the 1960s for the soul-less cluster below, while the old town that suffered landslides is now a ghost town tourist attraction for which you pay to enter with a safety helmet and tour.
Surnames from Craco include: Montemurro, Seccafico, Rinaldi, Grossi, Lacopeta, Mormando.
My Bella Basilicata