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Car itinerary in the Basilicata region?

Basilicata, also known as Lucania, is one of the least considered regions for traveling in Italy. A big mistake, because the landscape that characterizes it and the artistic resources that it got make it one of the most interesting regions to see. Today we are going to give you all the reasons to visit this region!

Matera, Basilicata
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Car itinerary in the Basilicata region?

It is a charming region, in a way even a little backward, but with a charm of its own, with a unique personality. Characterized by the sea and the beautiful mountains, with the white beaches, the turquoise sea, the villages set in the rocks, parks and castles set in the top of the mountains, wrapped in silence – it looks like a fairy tale place. Let’s get a car itinerary in the Basilicata region today?

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What stands out most in Basilicata is the beauty of its lush, green nature, and in some areas, still unspoiled. Its towns on top of the mountains seem to be in perfect harmony with the landscape, so much so that it feels like seeing a painting. This region offers visitors a multitude of opportunities between tourism, tradition and history. Its past has its roots in prehistoric periods and the countless stone churches are witnesses. The cuisine and folklore are full of Mediterranean influences, due to the various invasions that this region has suffered. From the Greeks to the Normans to the Aragonese.

Our Itinerary

Basilicata is a mountainous region, the towns are stuck in the rocks, so it is advisable to tour it by car, as we will do in our itinerary. We will now see how to visit Basilicata, our itinerary will be made by car and we will visit the most beautiful places in a region still little known, characterized by two seas, huge mountains, the landscape of the moon, sensational valleys and the people’s authentic and genuine energy. Shall we leave? Let us now find out more about Basilicata. How about an adventure in Matera? Shall we take a hot air balloon tour with breakfast?

1) Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? FIRST DAY

Our itinerary starts in Matera, where we will spend the night. Arrival at Bari airport early in the morning. At exactly 7:45 am we will already be in the rental car, heading towards Matera – which is only 64 km away from Bari Palese airport. LEARN MORE ABOUT MATERA!

City Attractions

Arriving in Matera, we will first settle into the hotel that we previously booked to sleep in a room inside a Sasso. Then we will continue with the discovery of this city that is the pride of Basilicata, a city that has few equals in the world in terms of charm and magic. The heart of the old city is represented by the famous Sassi and its shacks, carved out of volcanic rock. The caves and steps mix together, creating a small town that looks more like a nativity scene, especially at dusk, when all the lights come on, forming a show that you will never forget. Take a guided walking tour of Matera!

The Sassi

Then we will stroll through all the “Sassi”, starting with Caveoso (where we will stay) until Barisano, admiring the countless landscapes that open between the alleys and entering the main churches. Among all of them, I recommend the church of St John Baptist, in Sasso Barisano, because it did not go through the Baroque influence and precisely the simplicity of its structure is its main beauty. We will have also visited the stone church of Santa Lucia alle Malve (“St Lucy to Mallows” – rock complex that formerly housed a monastic community), as well as the church of “Our Lady of Wayside”  (on the top of the mountain) and a cave-house (with a reconstruction made with period objects).

Matera is a city that should be explored calmly, it is beautiful at all times of the day, but surely, with the sunset lights, it gains a unique and very particular charm. At this hour, after so much walking, we will give ourselves an extraordinary Lucan dinner and then, the well-deserved rest.

2) Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? SECOND DAY

Tour around Matera and at night return to Matera: after having breakfast, we will take a tour in the neighboring towns of Matera, starting with Miglionico and Tricarico. Then, heading towards the Lucan Dolomites, we will admire the cities of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, where the rocks descend over the cities, giving the place an inspiring view that preserves the original structure of the Middle Ages. The houses, with ceilings made of sandstone slivers, are surrounded by steep stairs, inviting people to go up to the historic center.


Strolling through the mansions of the village, you can see the mother church dedicated to Our Lady (from the 13th century), the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, the stone church of Our Lady of the Assumption (dug in the rocks), the ruins of the Norman-Swabian fortress and the Napoleonic cemetery. Between the two towns there is the well-known zip line called “flight of the angel”, in which a suspended rope allows you to go from one city to another reaching a significant speed. We, however, will be content to admire the brave who have experienced the adventure of this unique flight.

Craco Ghost Village

From Castelmezzano, we will finally go to the fascinating ghost village of Craco. The environment where this city is, which has not been inhabited since 1963, only tends to value it even more – silence does everything else. Precisely because of its ghostly appearance and its abandoned alleys, Craco was chosen as a film set for famous film productions. At the end of the afternoon, we will return to Matera, in time to take a walk around the center and admire the energy and order of this city, which was a real discovery for us. For dinner, we will repeat the same restaurant as the night before, where we ate very well. Then we’ll have a nice sleep.

3) Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? THIRD DAY

We will leave Matera to go to Metaponto and Policoro, where we will spend the night: having left Matera, we will go to the Ionian coast, more precisely to Metaponto. Metaponto is located in an interesting archaeological site that is well worth a visit. It is a small town in Matera, a former Greek colony. Here you have the unmissable National Archaeological Museum of Metaponto, which preserves important prehistoric finds, from Greek to Roman times.


Finally, we will go to Policoro, where we will stay. There we will grant ourselves an afternoon of rest at sea. Policoro has a very beautiful and peculiar port and is famous for bringing important cultural events that attract many tourists and liven up the town, especially in high season. After a good dinner, we go to bed.

4) Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? FOURTH DAY

We will leave Policoro to go to Lauria, Trecchina and Maratea, where we will spend the night. Having left Policoro, the first stage of the day will be the visit to the beautiful Sanctuary of Our Lady of Anglona, ​​full of frescoes inside and with a very beautiful Romanesque portal – it is worth stopping there. Then we go straight to the heart of Pollino National Park, with lots of greenery, well-kept, and a breathtaking view. There, the woods are quite dense and we will cross them down the Tyrrhenian Sea of ​​Lauria and Trecchina.


In this last city, we will go up to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (5 km from the village), where the view that opens before us is, without a doubt, extraordinary. In fact, from up there, where the Shrine is, you can see the sea and Pollino. From Trecchina we will soon descend the Tyrrhenian Sea towards Maratea, a real jewel located between a crystal clear sea and huge mountains. We will go up to the Statua del Cristo Redentore (“Statue of Christ the Redeemer”), placed on top of the hill where, once again, there is an unparalleled view – it is possible to see the entire coastline, the graceful port and the village of Maratea. At night we will enjoy the tourist climate that exudes in this city: several alleys, craft shops and numerous restaurants. We will stop at one of the canteens to dine on great Lucan cuisine. Soon after we will rest.

5) Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? FIFTH DAY

We will leave the sensational Maratea to go to Sapri, Moliterno and Potenza, where we will spend the night. Having left Matera to descend back to Sapri and, from there, to the interior. We will stop by Moliterno and Corleto Perticara – the street, as always impractical, passes through the wooded areas and often valleys “appear out of nowhere”.


In the late afternoon we head to Potenza, where we will stay at a hotel with a spectacular view of the cliff – Potenza is the capital of the highest region in Italy. Relentless and elegant, perhaps even a little chaotic, Potenza has pre-Roman origins. The squares, the Cathedral of St Gerard, the countless churches, the famous Via Pretoria, the Guevara Tower and the museums gather evidence of the history of Potenza. At night we will stroll along Via Pretoria, where the oldest churches and palaces are.

Particularity about Potenza

A particularity of this place that perhaps many do not know is that Potenza is the first city in Europe in kilometers of escalators (and the second in the world, second only to Tokyo). Imagine that one of the countless routes takes 15 minutes; access to the escalators is well signposted and free transit is possible. After having spent so much time, we will stop to enjoy a great dinner and then go to sleep.

6) Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? SIXTH DAY

In the morning, we will stay a little longer in Potenza and then we will go to Muro Lucano and the Lakes of Monticchio, where we will spend the night. After another tour of the city and a stop for a coffee with some typical sweets, we continue towards Muro Lucano. The city is fascinating, as it is clinging around the mountain. The climb to the castle is worth it.

Lakes of Monticchio

From Muro Lucano we go to the wonderful lakes of Monticchio, with volcanic formation. They were really a great finding, we found an oasis of green and peace, with extraordinary trails through the forests (we will do the trail around the smaller lake, about 1.8 km). In addition, there are several restaurants around the lake, with some shops, you can also ride a boat or rent a bicycle. It will be a tiring day, but very beautiful. And to finish it, let’s enjoy a great dinner and then go to bed.

7) Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? SEVENTH DAY

We will leave this paradisiacal place to go to the beautiful city of Melfi. This will be our last stage, then we will go to Bari to return the car at the rental store and we will return to reality, but full of joy.


After having a great breakfast, we will proceed to Melfi. Arriving at the beautiful city of Melfi, we will visit the castle where the Archaeological Museum is located. From Melfi, we finally go to the neighboring city, Venosa, hometown of the poet Horace. We will spend the night there. At night, we will stroll in the graceful center, where in some points you can read the poetry and writings of the great poet Horace. Also, the cathedral and the castle are very beautiful. We will have dinner in the internal courtyard of the restaurant where there is great Lucan cuisine, accompanied by a good Aglianico wine from Basilicata. Then we go to sleep. The next day, after having breakfast, we go to Bari airport to return the car and go back to our daily lives, but with much more enthusiasm.

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Traveling by car in Italy

How about if I give you a rental car option? Are you ready for it? If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on the blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signage, tolls, roads and many more tips.


Car itinerary in the Basilicata region? Basilicata is very different from regions that have a rich infrastructure. Here we see several places with wildwood such as parks, reserves, farms, gardens, fields, archaeological sites in the meadows and in hidden corners that the tourist doesn’t even know, but will love.

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