My Bella Basilicata
Teana. A Greek colony flourished here and there was a summer school of philosophy and religion by Pythagoras. The town is named for his wife. After a few centuries of abandonment, it was re-established with a Byzantine monastery and a town then grew up around it. There are nice sculptures in the town hall by Marino carved from Teana marble.
Surnames from Teana: Buglione, Tornese, Trupa, Martinese, Damiani, Breglia, Romano.
Terranova di Pollino. Terranova is like a frontier town at the “end of the road” where Basilicata turns into Calabria in the vast and wild Pollino National Park. Majestic mountains, alpine streams and lakes, and undisturbed wilderness are found here, the perfect place for outdoors lovers to enjoy hiking, kayaking, horse riding, climbing and mountain biking. The forests are thick with chestnuts, beech and oaks, along with the pino loricato tree, the symbol of the national park. The town has a tight cluster of houses furthering the impression of a frontier town. But there is also a famous trendy restaurant here, too, with Basilicata’s “celebrity chef”. Unfortunately, many of the town’s records were destroyed in a fire when the town hall was sacked and burned by briganti.
Surnames from Terranova di Pollino: Tufaro, Genovese, Lufrano, Labanca, Golia, Dattoli, Lanza.
Tito. The old city of Tito was named for the Roman consul Tito Sempronio Gracco who encamped here during his campaign against Carthage in the Punic Wars. The town later moved uphill for defense in the Middle Ages. There is a monumental fountain in Piazza del Seggio and stunning frescoes by Girolamo Stabile in the monastery of Sant’Antonio. The attached cloister was painted by Pietrafesa.
Surnames from Tito:Laurino, Salvia, Buono, Giosa, Scavone, Satriano, Coronato.
Tolve. The “City of San Rocco” is devoutly devoted to the saint from Montpelier and every family has a son named for him. Thousands of pilgrims arrive for the patron saint day, and the Casa del Pellegrino displays thousands of ex votos given in thanks or supplication to St. Rocco. The remains of a Villa Romana were found nearby from the 1st century BC, and there are still towers, gateways and defensive walls visible around the town. Tolve overlooks a patchwork of hills.
Surnames from Tolve:Moliterni, Stigliani, Armiento, Venezia, Becce, Sanorsa, Flore.
Tramutola. A stream runs underneath the town and bubbles forth in the Capo d’Acqua basin where old women still beat their laundry clean. The name comes from “Motola” an old term meaning “rich in water.” The theme carries over to modern Tramutola with a summertime water park. Its wealth now comes from the oil reserves found nearby that is extracted. The Madonna dei Miracoli is celebrated every May 17 where the statue of Mary is carried around town on a boat of roses.
Surnames from Tramutola:Lavieri, Russo, Marcone, Falvella, Tavolaro, Lapetina.
Tricarico. The round Norman tower creates a distinctive focal point for the skyline of Tricarico, a beautiful town just up the hill from the Basento River. It has a pretty cathedral and convent with cloister and frescoes to see, along with nice views. The Rabatana is the Arab quarter with a warren of stepped streets and winding alleys, a quaint area to explore.
Surnames from Tricarico: Benevento, Carbone, Cetani, Vizzoso, Dabraio, Centola.
Trivigno is in the geographic center of Basilicata and one of the most easily accessible hilltowns thanks to its location just off the Basentana highway. It is between Brindisi Montagna and Castelmezzano. It was once the commercial center for the area, drawing folks from all the surrounding towns. Like most of Basilicata's small towns it retains it agricultural ties and traditions. The church has an amazing baroque organ that produces incredible music, still in use for concerts, along with a finely worked wrought iron altar screen. Trivigno is at the gateway of the Lucanian Dolomites but low enough to have a milder climate.
Surnames from Trivigno: Padula, Guarini, Bollettino, Larocca, Maggio, Petrone, Prete, Fanelli.
Tursi. The old part of town was established in the 10th century with the Saracen invasions and is called the “Rabatana” (meaning Arab quarter). The maze of narrow lanes and picturesque setting make it a charming district, that is undergoing some renovations in recent years. The beautiful Sanctuario della Anglona must be seen, with its Gothic style apse, frescoes and beautiful carvings on the portal, by Melchiorre da Montalbano.
Surnames from Tursi:Di Noia, Cuccarese, Tauro, Rondinelli, Fusco, Santamaria.
Valsinni. Near the Calabria border, the buildings of Valsinni are grouped on a hill above the Sinni River, with the nearby dammed lake of Monte Cutugno providing a glistening effect below. The Castle of Isabella is on a rocky peak above, the home of a Renaissance poet who was killed by her brothers. A theatrical drama is put on every summer in her honor and the town is a “literary park” for her poems.
Surnames from Valsinni:Celano, Lista, Olivieri, Petrigliano, Sollazzo, Zaccone.
Vaglio Basilicata. A mysterious Apulan people lived here then the Enotri, Greeks and Romans, so Vaglio is rich in archeological finds. There are two archeo-parks, Serra di Vaglio and Rossana, dating to the 8th century BC with huts and necropoli. Bronze vases, armature, jewelry, and ceramics were found here, and Vaglio was along the Appian Way in the Roman period.
Surnames from Vaglio Basilicata: Gilio, Santangelo, Tamburrino, Evangelista, Giacomino, Catalano.
Venosa. Roman Venusia was the birthplace of Orazio Flacco, a noted Roman writer known in English as Horace. His famous line “carpe diem” is still in use, and other writings immortalized his home town. The city retains the Roman street plan and embedded relief sculptures and inscriptions, along with an archeological park that contains the remains of the amphitheater, baths, and homes. The Chiesa Imcompiuta is a hauntingly beautiful spot, maybe more attractive than if the church had been completed. Next door is the Santissima Trinita with mosaics and frescoes, and down the road are a set a Jewish catacombs. Venosa is elegant and uses its centerpiece castle for special events and a small museum.
Surnames from Venosa: Manieri, Teora, Gammone, Minutiello, Antenori, Pugliese.
Vietri di Potenza. Lucani roots, it was the scene of ancient battle between Hannibal and the Romans, and their leader Titus Sempronio Gracco died here. The Gole di Puzz-Gnunt is an area of rocky canyons worth exploring, while in town the Annunziata church is richly decorated. The convent of the Cappuccini outside town was built in the 1600s in a lovely setting and offers panoramic views. The legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi’s family was from Vietri.
Surnames from Vietri di Potenza. Pitta, Pascaretta, Macellaro, Fabio, Gorga, Zirpoli, Faruolo.
Viggianello. Viggianello was built along the folds of the wooded hills in the heart of the Pollino. It is an area of natural beauty and vast wilderness. There are several churches and monuments, including the stoic Norman tower, the castle which is now a hotel, and several palazzi.
Surnames from Viggianello: Caputo, Fiore, Oliveto, Propato, Crescente, De Filpo, Palazzi.
Viggiano. The “city of music” was vamous for its violins, harps and lutes – both craftsmen and players of the instruments. Many of the doorways of town are decorated with stone carvings of these instruments. Famous for its icon of the “black Madonna”, the Madonna Nera di Viggiano is the patron saint of Basilicata and faithful pilgrims walk miles up to the Sanctuario del Sacro Monte in a solemn procession every year. There is a ski slope above town, and oil extraction below town. Many emigrants from Viggiano went to Australia.
Surnames from Viggiano:Nigro, Giordano, Maralla, Gargaro, Alberti, Pizzo, Marsicano.