Basilicata is a mountainous region in Southern Italy. The region has two short coastlines, one along the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the other on Ionian Sea to the south. The region was originally occupied by the Romans and was given the named Lucania, from the Lucani people. The Lucanians defended the region from the Greeks who had already colonized the coasts.
Mount Vulture, an inactive volcano, and the twin lakes of Monticchio, located inside the volcanic crater, are spectacular. The Pollino National Park is home to the Pollino massif, which separates Basilicata from Calabria. A vast alluvial plain, called the Piana di Metaponto, extends from the Apennines to the Ionian coast.
Along the opposite coast, you will find the Gulf of Policasto, located next to the seaside resort of Maratea. The region is made up of only two provinces: Potenza and Matera. Matera is famous for its prehistoric settlements, or sassi, that were carved out of the sides of mountains.
Baslicata is known for its rich agricultural traditions. Olives are grown from the Ionian Sea up to the Metaponto plain. Flavorful vegetables and legumes are also cultivated in Basilicata, including Sarconi beans and Senise peppers.
Wheat is also an important crop and is used to make both artisanal and industrial pasta. Lagane is regional pasta dish that dates back to the Roman period and is made with chickpeas, soft bread, walnuts and beans. Garlic, olive oil and peperoncino form the base of most sauces, to which vegetables or meats may be added.
Soups are also popular in Basilicata. Minestra maritata is a soup with both meat and vegetables, whereas Acquasale is made entirely with hot water, bread, onions, tomatoes, garlic, oil and salt.
The local wheat is used to make large, long-lasting loaves of bread. The flocks of sheep, which are common throughout central and southern Italy, provide the milk used to make most of the regional cheeses, like Pecorino di Filiano, Canestrato di Moliterno DOP, Caciocavallo Podolico, Butirro, Manteca, and Cacioricotta.
Fish caught off the two coasts are used in a number of recipes, or conserved in salt and oil. Anchovies, tuna, sardines and salt cod are all popular down south. Lamb meat is used in many traditional recipes. Pork sausages are common in Baslicata, including Lucanica, Soppressata and Pezzenta, which combines pork, lamb and veal meat.
Mostacciolo is a popular dessert made with vincotto, or cooked wine, honey, almonds and flour. Another local treat is Cuccia, a pastry made with cooked wheat, like the Neapolitan pastiera.
The most important wines of the region are Aglianico and Aleatico.