Forget what you read in most travel guides about Basilicata, it seems most of those writers have never actually been in the region locals still call Lucania. Basilicata has an ancient history going back to the Lucani people who were there before the Greeks and then the Romans. This was part of the land controlled by the king Federico II who established towns and castles that still dot the landscape of Basilicata.

Basilicata offers gentle coast at the Ionian Sea and seaside cliffs along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Majestic mountains in the center and fertile lands where wheat, olives and grapes produce some of the finest bread, oil and wine Italy has to offer.

The capital, Potenza, is the highest regional capital in Italy and Matera has some of the oldest roots in the entire peninsula. You can sit on the beach, hike mountains, go skiing, see Norman castles, Baroque and Renaissance churches, walk hill towns or just sit in the cool mountain air and relax.

Then there is the food and the people. The Lucani are proud of their heritage but very welcoming to visitors, many times treating you like long lost family. Then there is the food: meats, pasta dishes, vegetables and wine to rival any other region of Italy.

If you need to visit somewhere where everyone speaks English, then Basilicata is probably not for you. If you want to visit a part of Italy that is friendly and still holds to its traditions then Basilicata is the place for you.

For more on following your family roots in Basilicata then go to My Bella Basilicata!