We spent almost four weeks in Basilicata, the region where Valerie’s Italian family has roots. Before we have to return to the USA we wanted to spend some time exploring more and just enjoying the great hospitality we always receive from the Lucanians.
We love Ascoli Piceno where we lived for more than two and a half years but we feel a special draw to Basilicata. Perhaps after living in New Mexico for twenty years we see many similarities with the Lucanian landscape. The calanchi between Pisticci and the Agri Valley remind us of the landscape north of Santa Fe, the mountains that rise in the central and northern section of the region are reminiscent of the mountains that cover a good portion of New Mexico and the low rolling hills between Melfi and Matera mimic the eastern highlands of the Land of Enchantment.
As New Mexico is sparsely populated in many areas you will also find vast stretches of windy roads in Lucania where there is nothing but endless vistas unobstructed by industry or dense populations. If not for the nearby seas and abundance of charming historic hill towns I might think we were in our adopted home state.
We were able to explore areas that were settled by Greeks and Romans, controlled by Templar and Malta Knights and strongholds of the Briganti who resisted the Savoia invasion. In the time we were there spring began to arrive as the landscape was a lush green and the trees in the high mountains were just beginning to bud.
As always we enjoyed the great food Lucania has to offer, the wonderful hospitality of the locals and made some new discoveries of places to return to again in the future. We will return…di sicuro!
We have returned to Ascoli Piceno for one more week to say goodbye to all the friends and acquaintances we made living here before returning to Rome to prepare for our departure to the United States.