- Countryscape Mountains and mediaeval villages
- Country life Caves, culture and cucina
Basilicata rivals Rome in terms of culture, beauty, history and charm, and it comes without the torrent of tourists.
This Southern section of Italy is tucked high up on the beautiful boot’s instep, flanked by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. The landscape is wild and mountainous, home to some of the county’s most impressive national parks and the volcanic Mount Vulture. Underground churches and caves lurk beneath the arid terrain, and Matera’s maze-like settlement of cave dwellings is a Unesco World Heritage site. Basilicata’s not all hilltops and history though; Maratea has some dazzling secluded coves and the region’s two provinces, Potenza and Matera, both boast bars and boutiques.
- Planes Palese airport in Bari is served by British Airways from London Gatwick (www.britishairways.com) | or Ryanair from London Stansted (www.ryanair.com). The airport is 15km from the city centre; taxis cost around €20. Ryanair flies to Papola Casale airport in Brindisi. The city centre is 7km away – taxis are around €15–€20.
- Trains If you want to travel by Eurostar part of the way, sleeper trains from Paris connect to Italy’s major cities. Direct trains run from Bari to Matera (www.ferroviedellostato.it).
- Automobiles You’ll want a car for exploring the mountain ranges | ruins and ravishing coastline | but watch out for driving in the small hamlets and towns – the streets are narrow and winding | and finding parking space can be challenging.
- Taxis You can flag taxis by bus and train stations – since they’re not particularly wallet-friendly, they’re best for short journeys.