Rapolla. The town is edged with cantinas carved into the hillside for aging wine, similar to nearby Barile, and the zone comes to life during its annual harvest festival. Noted for its quality olive oil, Rapolla is still tied to the seasons and the land. It is also noted for its hot springs, which bring people in search of the curative effects of the hot mineral water.
Surnames from Rapolla: Stante, Marchitiello, Cordisco, Rapone, Brienza, iorio, Lapolla, Mottola.
Rapone. This unassuming country town has ancient origins going back several millennia. The Middle Ages saw it develop and it spreads out taking the shape of the terrace on which it sits. It is surrounded by woods and pastures, it is near the Campania border, between San Fele and Ruvo del Monte. It was known for its wrought iron craftsmen.
Surnames from Rapone: Pinto, Repole, Cappiello, Angelillo, Tozzi, Cristiano, Patrissi.
Rionero in Vulture. At the base of the wooded volcanic Mt. Vulture, Rionero is the center of Basilicata’s wine country. Several renowned wineries are located here and produce excellent vintages of Aglianico del Vulture, a notable wine that grows in the volcanic-enriched soil here. Rionero was the birthplace of legendary outlaw Carmine Crocco, called the General of the Briganti, whose motley men hid out in the woods near Laghi di Monticchio, just uphill from here, and launched attacks against the invading northern troops during the unification period. The lakes are a placid place to visit. Rionero’s church SS Sacramento has a pretty painting of the Madonna and Child by Luca Giordano.
Surnames from Rionero: Grieco, Traficante, Libutti, Asquino, Nardozza, Calice, Paolino.
Ripacandida. In a panoramic position above a river, Ripacandida looks out at Mt. Vulture and contributes grapes to the Aglianico production zone. Its medieval center is petite but pretty. It has hidden in it one of the region’s most beautiful churches, the Church of San Donato, which is fantastically frescoed with Old and New Testament scenes, allegories and saints by an unknown artist.
Surnames from Ripcandida: Martino, Gioiosa, Labriola, Musto, Sinisi, Perretta.
Rivello. One of the prettiest towns in the region, Rivello drips off the hills in a sunny spot between Maratea and the mountains. It has Byzantine touches and a Greek rite church, Santa Maria del Poggio. The convent of Sant’Antonio has a Florentine style courtyard cloister, frescoes and a handsome carved wood choir. The streets of the old town are a charming tangle of cobbled lanes.
Surnames from Rivello:Labanca, Fillizzola, Florenzano, Calderaro, Cosentino, Nocera.
Roccanova. This Norman stronghold was populated during the Swabian era but history mentions earlier settlements on this spot of Lucani, Enotri, and Greek origins. The ceramics they produced were widely distributed throughout the south. Today, the town stretches along a ridge between the Agri and Sinni rivers and is a notable wine zone, producing Il Grottino di Roccanova wines, which are aged in grottoes carved out of the rock. They hold a wine festival every December to celebrate their vintages.
Surnames from Roccanova:Greco, Collarino, Bellizio, Graziano, Satriano, Napoli.
Rotonda. The headquarters and trailheads for the pristine Pollino National Park are here, along iwth a Museum of Paleontology. Prehistoric animal bones and fossils were found here, including a pachiderm. One of the most spectacular arboreal rites is held here where two trees are “married” after a procession to town with oxen, with trees symbolizing the meeting point between land and sky, between man and the cosmos. It is a ritual that has been carried on here for centuries. Rotonda is also home to an unusual red eggplant, a variety that resembles a tomato.
Surnames from Rotonda:Forte, Di Tomaso, Tedesco, Cerbino, De Marco, Propato.
Rotondella. Its name derives from its circular shape, as this unusual town encircles the hill in an intricate network of homes and lanes. It was part of the territory of the Siris and Eraclea colonies, part of Magna Grecia. It is just a few minutes inland from the Ionian Sea, near Nova Siri.
Surnames from Rotondella:
Ruoti. Located in the center of the region, it was built on a hill below encircling mountains. The ruins of a Roman villa were found near here, and there is a nature preserve and natural springs in the area. A nice sparkling wine is made here, called Asprino.
Surnames from Ruoti:Scavone, De Carlo, Nardiello, Manciano, Errichetti, Potenza.
Ruvo del Monte. Ruvo del Monte is hidden in the hills where Basilicata skirts the Campania border. It has beautiful landscapes around it, and the town is defined by the outline of the round watch tower that still stands guard over it. The name was originally Rufrae, a Sannite settlement of an ancient tribe from the Sannio area of Campania.
Surnames from Ruvo del Monte: Ciampa, Vodola, Tita, Suozzi, Giannini, Patrissi.