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МатераThe region of Basilicata, in Italy, forms the instep of the Italian “boot.”

The charm of Basilicata lies inherently in its numerous small ancient villages, which are not always simple to reach unless you have a car, because there is very little in the way of railways or air travel facilities in the region, a gap borne off the very geographical characteristics of the area.
Ceramic and textile handworks are popular and can be often bought in small, family-owned shops. Wood carvings are typical of the area and beautiful hand made works can be purchased by tourists.

While there are numerous small festivals and fairs held in the region, one of the most culturally significant is a festival celebrated in May in many villages of the region: the Sagra del Maggio, known in English as May Chopping Festival. The festival has ancient pagan roots, and revolves around the chopping of a large tree, usually an oak, which is cut and then dragged into the town square. This older tree is “married” to a younger tree, usually a holly, in a picturesque ceremony.

Basilicata is not a large region, but there is plenty of beauty to see and plenty of things to do. Tourists will be fascinated by the stunning architecture and historical art of the region’s numerous small churches and medieval castles. The coastline is also covered in some of Italy’s finest archeological ruins.

Basilicata’s greatest resource remains its people, who are friendly and helpful to travelers.

Small family owned restaurants offer some of the finest delicacies in southern Italian cuisine, perfect for those who have a desire for spicy foods rich in complex flavors. Spicy sausages and freshly-caught game are among some of the region’s specialties.

Basilicata is the perfect place to immerse yourself into the true Italian experience free from all the trappings of busy tourist areas.