Episcopia. This town is an impressive sight above the Sinni river with its castle on a rock that is inaccessible on three side. There are two watch towers, an old monastery dedicated to San Lorenzo. It is thought to have Byzantine origins.
Surnames from Episcopia Basilicata: Donadio, La Becca, Chiacchio, Bianco, Molfese, Iorio, Iannabelli
Fardella. Surrounded by woods the hamlet was part of the Sanseverino estate, and has the 15th century Palazzo de Salvia as an elegant enrichment. It has a pretty setting in the hills near Chiaromonte and Senise.
Surnames from Fardella:Coringrato, Guarino, Liguori, Favale, Ferrara, Appella.
Ferrandina. Especially attractive from across the gorge where you can see the outline of the pointy-roofed houses lined up in ordered rows across the hillside. It resembles an illustration. The majolica tiled dome of the church of San Domenico is a focal point of the old town while the interior has lovely Neapolitan artwork and a curious sculpture of Spanish royals Ferdinand and Isabella, who decreed the town’s creation and for whom it is named. Ferrandina is especially noted for its high quality olive oil, pressed from a local olive called majatica.
Surnames from Ferrandina: Montefinese, Recchia, Latronico, Lisanti, Mastrangelo, Di Biasi.
Filiano. In the shadow of Castel Lagopesole, the stolid stronghold built by Frederick II, Filiano was a country town known for its shepherds and goat herders. Today, it is famous for its cheese, Pecorino di Filiano, a delicacy that is still made according to traditional methods. It is also known for its wool. Naturally, sheep are still a mainstay of Filiano. Northeast of town were excavations at Tuppo dei Sassi where they uncovered Mesolithic paintings in ochre of hunting scenes.
Surnames from Filiano:Pace, Santarsiero, Carriero, Summa, Nole’.
Forenza. Dubbed Forentum by the Romans, they had conquered a town already in existence, founded by Apula people in 317 BC. The spiral street winds through town, with several churches scattered throughout. It was a feudal estate of the Caracciola family then the prestigious Doria family. It is an impressive sight circling the hilltop above fields of grain.
Surnames from Forenza: Iasi, Brienza, Civiello, Zotta, Caggiano, Ronzano, Sanno.
Francavilla in Sinni. Located above the Sinni River, Francavilla is the gateway to the Pollino National Park. It was one of the few communities in Lucania without fortifications. It was known for its skilled woodworkers. Local dishes that were taken to the new world included ciambotta and brasciol.
Surnames from Francavilla in Sinni: Cupparo, Viceconte, Capuano, Ciminelli, Sarubbi.
Garaguso. The long millennia of history reach to prehistoric and Greek settlements, the artifacts of which are displayed in the museum in Potenza. The most interesting is the “Tempietto di Garaguso,” a perfectly proportioned carved miniature temple and goddess found here. They came from a necropolis that was found in the town’s public garden. The once-grand Palazzo Revertera was an opulent hunting lodge with a loggia with three arches.
Surnames from Garaguso:Rizzuti, Auletta, Colucci, Salerno, Moles, Costanzo.
Genzano di Lucania. Located along the Bradano Valley, it is near the Matera and Bari province lines, mostly surrounded by billowing wheat fields. There is an old town and a modern town, with a few palaces and fountains. The Fontana Cavallina is topped by an ancient statue of the goddess Cerere from the 1st century BC. Santa Maria della Platea has a lovely altarpiece in Venetian style from the 15th century.
Surnames from Genzano di Lucania: Muscillo, Di Stasi, Anobile, Menchise, Laginestra, Maffeo, Loguercio.
Ginestra. One of the Albanian villages established by refugees fleeing persecution by the Ottomans between 1482-1515, Ginestra retains its ancient dialect and costumes. Its name means Spanish broom, a plant in great profusion in the area. Street signs are in both Arbereshe and Italian, and the village is set amidst rolling hills of olive groves and grape vines.
Surnames from Ginestra: Tucciariello, Chiarito, Pompa, Giambersio, Allamprese.
Surnames from Gorgoglione:Abbondanza, Lauria, Gagliardi, Leone, Filippo, Vetere.
Grassano. The settlement was donated to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in 1414 and later became the economic and agricultural center of the area, with grains, olive oil, wine, and wool. Carlo Levi was interred first at Grassano but transferred to Aliano but this city wasn’t isolated enough. More recently it has been given a boost of attention with the visit of NY mayor Bill De Blasio’s visit to his ancestral town.
Surnames from Grassano: Daraio, Pontillo, Bonelli, Abbatangelo, Bolettieri, Pirrone.
Grottole. Perched on a ridge between the Bradano and Basento Rivers, Grottole is a warren of old streets with peeling buildings and former palaces. The most interesting sight is the Chiesa Distrutta (destroyed church), in local dialect “diruta” built in 1509 on the sight of a former temple. It was abandoned and portions caved in, with the outline of the dome remaining, giving it an ancient look.
Surnames from Grottole include:Carbone, D’Aria, Guerrieri, Allegretti, Lamagna, Antenore.
Grumento Nova. The ancient city of Grumentum perfectly preserves the outline of the Roman urban structure where aqueducts, a temple, a forum, an amphitheater, baths and houses once stood in the 1st century BC. The “new” town uphill from the Middle Ages is an intricate network of alleyways with towers and a protective castle overlooking the Agri River valley. Down on the river is the Lago di Pertusillo, created by a dam on the Agri River.
Surnames from Grumento Nova:Caputi, Maiorino, Pennella, Toscano, Laveglia, Torraca.
Guardia Perticara. A compact cutey of a town in a pretty position in the hills, Guardia Perticara is built of stone. It was named one of the “most beautiful small towns in Italy” for its pointed stone work, well-kept streets and houses decked with flower boxes. It’s so perfectly preserved it looks like a movie set.
Surnames from Guardia Perticara: Montano, Leudisio, Vomero, Grezzi, Carcia, Santa Lucia, Lavella.
Irsina. An elegantly emblished town in the midst of low hills of grain. It was the religious and cultural center for this area for centuries. It has a Renaissance era cathedral of honey colored brick, with a sculpture and painting by Mantegna. There are nice frescoes in the crypt of San Francesco church.
Surnames from Irsina include: Mascolo, Trabace, Capezzera, Verrascina, Masiello, Rizzi.