Americans that have gone there tell of being in a place with no other tourists. Rugged terrain, malaria outbreaks, and difficult communications kept the population down in the region and even now farm workers outnumber people who work in industry. Basilicata and Ohio have something in common; in both places the young people tend to leave for richer, more exciting parts of the country.
The region was originally known as Lucania and some people still call it that. I’ve seen the dialect referred to as “Lucanian” and it is supposedly influenced by Albanian. The name “Lucania” was derived from lucus, Latin for forest and people have been living there since prehistoric times, way before the Greeks invaded in the 7th century BC.
I think that when I go I’ll find what I love best in Italy – real people doing real things and not trying really hard to entertain me, a tourist. I’ll practice my Italian ( is the dialect really hard to understand? ) and study la cucina – I’m a vegetarian so the vegetable based diet looks great for me. And I know I will love this beautiful, relatively untouched part of Italy.
I want to go for the Good Friday processional – the “Procession of the Mysteries”- a religious parade with statues that are solemnly carried through the streets by guys in long hooded robes of either black or white cloth.
I also have to see Craco. It’s almost 25 miles away from the Gulf of Taranto just located at edge of Italy. Built on a hill, the population of Craco in 1891 was 2,000 people. Earthquakes, mudslides and poor farming made it hard to live there, so from 1892 to 1922 more than 1,300 people migrated from the town to North America. In 1963 the remaining 18,00 inhabitants were transferred from there to a nearby valley called Craco Peschiera and now original Craco is one of Italy’s most famous ghost towns.