CountryItaly GDP per capita19,100.00 EUR (2008) UniversityUniversity of Basilicata Area9,995 km2
CapitalPotenza Population576,413 (Aug 2014)
DestinationsMatera, Potenza, Maratea, Melfi, Pollino National Park
Basilicata , also known as Lucania, is a region in the south of Italy, bordering on Campania to the west, Apulia (Puglia) to the north and east, and Calabria to the south, having one short southwestern coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea between Campania in the northwest and Calabria in the southwest, and a longer one to the southeast on the Gulf of Taranto on the Ionian Sea between Calabria in the southwest and Apulia in the northeast. The region can be thought of as the "instep" of Italy, with Calabria functioning as the "toe" and Apulia the "heel". The region covers about 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) and in 2010 had a population slightly under 600,000. The regional capital is Potenza. The region is divided into two provinces: Potenza and Matera.
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Basilicata covers an extensive part of the southern Apennines, between Ofanto in the north and the Monte Pollino massif in the south. It is bordered on the east by a large part of the Bradano river depression which is traversed by numerous streams and declines to the southeastern coastal plains on the Ionian sea. The region also has a short coastline to the south west on the Tyrrhenian side of the peninsula.
Basilicata is the most mountainous region in the south of Italy, with 47% of its area of 9,992 km2 (3,858 sq mi) covered by mountains. Of the remaining area, 45% is hilly, and 8% is made up of plains. Notable mountains and ranges include Monte Alpi, Monte Carmine, Dolomiti lucane, Monti Li Foj, Pollino, Toppa Pizzuta, and Monte Vulture.
Geological features of the region include the volcanic Monte Vulture and the seismic faults in the Melfi and Potenza areas in the north and around Monte Pollino in the south. Much of the region was devastated in an 1857 earthquake. More recently, there was another major earthquake in 1980.
The combination of the mountainous terrain combined with the rock and soil types makes landslides prevalent. While the lithological structure of the substratum and its chaotic tectonic deformation contribute to the cause of landslides, this problem is compounded by the lack of forested land. This area, similar to others in the Mediterranean region, while originally abundant with dense forests, was stripped and made barren during the time of Roman rule.
The variable climate is influenced by three coastlines (Adriatic, Ionian and Tyrrhenian) and the complexity of the regions physical features. The climate is continental in the mountains and Mediterranean along the coasts.
The first traces of human presence in Basilicata date to the late Palaeolithic Age, with findings of Homo erectus. Late Cenozoic fossils, found at Venosa and other locations, include elephants, rhinoceros and species now extinct such as a saber-toothed cat of the genus Machairodus. Examples of rock paintings, from the Mesolithic have been discovered near Filiano. From the 5th millennium BC people stopped living in caves, and built settlements of huts up to the rivers leading to the interior (Tolve, Tricarico, Alianello, Melfi, Metaponto). In this period, the Homo sapiens sapiens lived by cultivating cereals and animal husbandry (Bovinae and Caprinae). Chalcolithic sites include the grottoes of Latronico and the funerary findings of the Cervaro grotto near Lagonegro.
The first known stable market center of the Apennine culture on the sea, consisting of huts on the promontory of Capo la Timpa, near to Maratea, dates to the Bronze Age. The first indigenous Iron Age communities lived in large villages in plateaus located at the borders of the plains and the rivers, in places fitting their breeding and agricultural activities. Such settlements include that of Anglona, located between the fertile valleys of Agri and Sinni, of Siris and, on the Ionic Coast, of Incoronata-San Teodoro. The first presence of Greek colonists, coming from the Greek islands and Asia Minor, date from the late 8th century BC.
There are virtually no traces of survival of the 11th-8th century BC archaeological sites of the settlements (aside from a necropolis at Castelluccio) on the Tyrrhenian coast: this was perhaps caused by the increasing presence of Greek colonies, which changed the balance of the trades.
Cultivation consists mainly of sowables (especially wheat), which represent 46% of the total land. Potatoes and maize are produced in the mountain areas. Olives and vines are also commonly found. A quality wine called "Aglianico del Vulture" is produced around Rionero. According to the latest Census of Agriculture, there are large herds of cattle (77,711 head in 2000).