Open a guidebook to southern Italy and you may find the "Mezzogiorno" described as a region largely unknown even to most Italians, a region with a long history of invasion and emigration, of poverty and bandits.
But step inside the region and you will find the wealth that it has to offer: dramatic mountains and crystal clear seas, natural beauty and historic sites, ranging from ancient Greek temples and Roman towns to medieval fortresses and the Unesco World Heritage site of Matera - the European Capital of Culture for 2019.
And everywhere you will find the warm welcome of the Lucanians, a people proud of their heritage and their traditions and delighted to share with you the cultural heritage, the wine and food, and the beautiful surroundings.
Spanning the width of the toe (or instep?) of Italy, Basilicata has coasts on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. The interior is mountainous, rocky and wild, with fascinating hill top villages and ancient forests, including the Pollino, Italy’s largest national park. In winter the snow capped peaks look down to the sparkling shorelines, the rocky Tyrrhenian to the west and the sandy Ionian to the east.
Here, even in December you will find a mild climate with days of sunshine and temperatures reaching 20c. In the long hot days of summer the temperatures soar and everyone decamps to the beach, where sea breezes relieve the heat of the day, or to the cooler mountains.
Wherever you choose to make your home in Basilicata, Campania, Puglia or Calabria you will find scenic beauty, wonderful lifestyle and a warm welcome