Salandra. Part of Magna Grecia, the town was built along the River Salandrella. Its ancient origins were confirmed in 1732 when the Tavole di Heraclea, bronze tablets of agrarian law, were uncovered here. The convent complex has a beautiful Florentine-style cloister, a polyptych by Antonio Stabile and an Annunciation painted by Simone da Firenze.
Surnames from Salandra:Tantone, Marraudino, Uricchio, Dinnella, Marzario, Ragone.
San Chirico Nuovo. Its history dates back to about 1000 AD and it was fortified in the 1200s for protection. There are was a period of abandonment and then it was repopulated in the early 1500s by refugees from Albania. An old legend holds that a group of monks lived below the castle and had an underground tunnel that led to Genzano. It is in a pretty setting of woods and gentle hills.
Surnames from San Chirico Nuovo: Baldassare, Padula, Maggio, De Canio, Scaccato, Lasala, Lacava.
San Chirico Raparo. A cluster of homes and lanes was built right around a massive jutting rock. This tiny village keeps its country charm. There is an intriguing stream that mysteriously disappears in autumn and reappears in spring, because of a strange karst phenomenon. San Chirico Raparo is near the Val d’Agri.
Surnames from San Chirico Raparo: Berardone, Rinaldi, Gresia, Durante, Pizzo
San Costantino Albanese. Fleeing persecution from the Ottomans, Albanian settlers found themselves an isolated place to re-establish themselves. Centuries later, the antique language and colorful costumes of those refugees are still in use. The village is closely tied to another Albanian one, San Paolo Albanese, just seven kilometers away. San Costantino is along the road that leads to the Pollino National Park, but also draws visitors with its most recent attraction, the Volo dell’Aquila, a 4-person adrenaline-pumping hang glider type of experience (with safety cables).
Surnames from San Costantino Albanese:Ciancia, Scutari, Brescia, Salerno, D’Amato, Iannibelli.
San Paolo Albanese. One of the smallest villages in the region with less than 400 residents, San Paolo tenaciously maintains its Albanian traditions, language and costumes. The Museo della Cultura Arbereshe is here and linguists come here to study the centuries-old dialect that has been preserved in this isolated spot and their Orthodox Rite church service is in Albanian. Handmade lace and needlework are still intricate arts here.
Surnames from San Paolo Albanese:Troiano, Camodeca, Blumetti, Buccolo, Smilari, Osnati.
San Fele. A striking setting and quaint atmosphere greet visitors to San Fele with houses gripping the rock of the hillside. There is a beautiful Romanesque church in the mountains high above town, the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Pierno, built of stone and surrounded by woods and crystal alpine streams. A short walk below San Fele’s historic center brings you to the Cascate di San Fele, a stunning landscape of waterfalls and natural pools where you can swim in the summer. The woods are brimming with wild strawberries, chestnuts and mushrooms. There is a local legend that says a pharmacist came and opened a shop in 1922 but after a year didn’t sell a single medicine because of the town’s healthy air.
Surnames from San Fele:Girardi, Ricigliano, Di Giacomo, Sperduto, Carlucci, Colangelo, Caputi.
San Giorgio Lucano. Located along the Valle del Sarmento the town was established as part of a feudal estate in 1607, the official act of founding was contracted by the lords and people from Viggianello and Castelsaraceno. The church has nice frescoes; you’ll see the pocked hill with grottoes where wine is aged in the caves. The town still celebrates the harvest with the pagan festival known as Ballo del Falcetto, dancing in the fields.
Surnames from San Giorgio Lucano: Palazzo, Lacanna, Capalbo, Adduci, Silvestre, Tedesco.
San Mauro Forte. The town started with a Benedictine monastery in the 11th century and the buildings grew up around it. The brick bastions of a Norman tower remain from that epoch, while the streets bear evidence of many once-noble palaces from the feudal era under the Counts of Montescaglioso. The opening of Carnevale season starts on the feast of Sant’Antonio Abate with men in folk costumes ringing huge clamorous bells through the streets (and an ensuing party afterwards.)
Surnames from San Mauro Forte include: Santochirico, Imperatore, Pierro, Tricarico, Lamagna.
San Severino Lucano. A pretty town surrounded by woods, hills, and streams in the Pollino National Park, San Severino is named for the Neapolitan family that were lords of the territory in the 15th century. The Byzantine style statue of the Madonna del Pollino is a venerated icon with a chapel high in the mountains built out from the cave where the statue was found. The town is known for its zampognari, players of primitive bagpipes, who travel around the south at the holidays playing their instruments.
Surnames from San Severino Lucano: Gargoglione, Vitale, La Sala, Fittipaldi, Mastropierro.
Sant’Angelo Le Fratte. Hidden in the hills near Vietri di Potenza, Sant’Angelo Le Fratte grew up around a monastery of Basilian monks (fratte in Italian means “brothers”). It is on a rocky outcropping near the border of Campania and its extensive Cilento National Park, a vast wilderness area. The town is known for its annual festival called Cantine Aperte, a wine and food extravaganza in the rock caves where wine, cheese and salami are aged. They take their vino so seriously they have a monument to Bacchus.
Surnames from Sant’Angelo Le Fratte: Loisi, Grippo, Mastroberti, Laurino, Monaco, Spera.
Sant’Arcangelo. This area, just about a half-hour from the cost of Policoro, is rich in olives groves. The convent of Santa Maria Orsoleo has two cloisters, vaults and walls frescoed by Todisco and the church’s cupola also bears a frescoed scene. To the north of town are the strange canyons that cover the landscape between here and Aliano.
Surnames common to Sant’Arcangelo: Briamonte, Mastrosimone, Cavallo, Giordano, Cerabona, Cudemo.
Sarconi. Once part of the ancient Grumentum, the town is outlined by an old aqueduct. It is right next to Moliterno. It is one of the few towns located on the plains rather than in the hills. In the fields nearby, they uncovered remains of Carthaginian soldiers who died here during the Punic Wars. The fertile fields produce a particular variety of bean, Fagioli di Sarconi DOP, and the town celebrates it with a big party in the piazza.
Surnames from Sarconi:Cantisani, Carlomagno, Forastiero, Pisano, Sbarra.
Sasso di Castalda. A lonely place on an exposed mountain, it has a handful of hearty inhabitants. Originally called Saxum, it was along the Via Heracleum between Grumentum and Venosa. The nearby woods are full of pure springs and walking paths, and there is skiing up there in the winter.
Surnames from Sasso di Castalda: Corleto, Doti, De Luca, Pepe, Langone, Nardo, Tofalo.
Satriano di Lucania. The distinctive stone tower of Satriano is visible from miles away. The town has ancient roots, going back nine centuries BC when it was a settlement of both Hellenic and Lucani people. There is an old world museum dedicated to peasant life. Satriano is called the “village of murals” for its wall paintings decorating the town’s streets.
Surnames from Satriano di Lucania:Pascale, Langone, Palermo, Sangiacomo, Brancato, Laviano.
Savoia di Lucania. Called Salvia until 1878 when the town decided to pay homage to the newly unified kingdom under the reign of the Savoys. Located on a hilltop above the Melandro Valley, it has a dominating position that can be seen from miles around, its stone castle crowning the summit. There is a museum, Museo della Memoria, with documents and articles relating to the history of the area. The wondrous Tuono Falls in the Luceto woods is an oasis in the forest.
Surnames from Savoia di Lucania:Cavallo, Lapolla, Caggianese, Salvatore, Petrollo, Covucci.
Scanzano Jonico. Skirting the Ionian Coast, the town has Micean ruins at the archeological area. The Torre di Mare was a Saracen watch tower, part of a coastal defense system in the Middle Ages, while Palazzo Baronale was the residence of the feudal lords, referred to as the Palazzaccio, which was a sort of hacienda with courtyard and chapel. The area is the fruit basket of Italy, with fruit orchards of apricots, plums, peaches and melons.
Surnames from Sanzano Jonico:Sabato, Gallicchio, Carlucci, Faillace, Rimoli, Benedetto.
Senise. Senise is situated in an attractive area of the Valsinni, next to the Lago di Monte Cotugno lake that was created by the largest dam project in Europe. The old town still has the emblematic cylindrical tower of its castle and an ethnography museum. The church of San Francesco has a beautiful Renaissance style altarpiece by Simone da Firenze. The lake offers fishing and canoeing. Senise is best known for its variety of sweet peppers that are dried in the sun. When fried in olive oil they become crispy and are called peperoni cruschi; they’re used in many of the region’s dishes.
Surnames from Senise: Abalsamo, Bellusci, Dragonetti, Amendolara, Cuccarese, Lista, Ponzio, Roseti.
Spinoso. The town of Spinoso was founded by folks who fled Grumentum when the Barbarians invaded in the 9th century. It is near the Agri River on the Lago di Pertusillo, in a fertile area near the National Park of the Lucanian Apennines. There are several palazzi in town from the 1700's that show the town once had wealth and status.
Surnames from Spinoso:Solimando, Maggi, Robortella, Bonelli, Di Filippo, Frezza.
Stiglianois found along a squiggly road in the rock formations and mountains of central Basilicata's Apennines, near Aliano. The town sits on a rocky crest encircling the remains of its medieval castle, the warren of narrow lanes winding in a maze. The church has some beautiful paintings, and the views from Stigliano of the surrounding countryside are stunning.
Surnames from Stigliano: Colangelo, Fornabaio, Rasuto, Rasciucco, Calbi, Ripullone and Barisano.
My Bella Basilicata