Basilicata 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.

It has 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. The regional capital is Potenza.

Provinces in BasilicataBasilicata is divided into two provinces:

Potenza (Region capital)

The two provinces are divided into 131 municipalities.

The name derives from “basilikos” which was the Byzantine official in charge of administrating the region during the Hellenistic rule.
Others argue that the name may refer to the Basilica of Acerenza which held judicial power in the Middle Ages.

In the Roman Age, Basilicata was known as Lucania,
named after the tribes which populated the region in the Iron Age.

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.

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.

View in Matera, BasilicataIn ancient historical times the region was originally known as Lucania, named for the Lucani, an Osco-Samnite population from central Italy. Their name might be derived from Greek leukos meaning “white”, lykos (“wolf”), or Latin lucus (“sacred wood”).

Starting from the late 8th century BC, the Greeks established a settlement first at Siris, founded by fugitives from Colophon. Then with the foundation of Metaponto from Achaean colonists, they started the conquest of the whole Ionian coast. There were also indigenous Oenotrian foundations on the coast, which exploited the nearby presence of Greek settlements, such as Velia and Pyxous, for their maritime trades.

The old city Sassi in Matera, BasilicataAfter the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Basilicata fell to Germanic rule, which ended in the mid-6th century when the Byzantines reconquered it from the Ostrogoths.

They also renamed the region as “Basilicata”, from the Greek term basilikos, meaning “imperial”. The region, deeply Christianized since as early as the 5th century, became part of the Lombard Duchy of Benevento in 568.

In 1485, Basilicata was the seat of plotters against King Ferdinand I of Naples, the so-called “Conspiracy of the Barons”, which included the Sanseverino of Tricarico, the Caracciolo of Melfi, the Gesualdo of Caggiano, the Orsini Del Balzo of Altamura and Venosa and other anti-Aragonese families.

Basilicata mapThe largest cities in Basilicata:
(Province capitals in bold)
Potenza, Matera, Pisticci, Melfi, Policoro, Lavello, Rionero in Vulture, Lauria, Bernalda, Venosa, Avigliano, Montescaglioso, Ferrandina, Montalbano Jonico, Senise, Scanzano Jonico, Tito, Nova Siri, Pignola, Sant’Arcangelo, Picerno, Genzano di Lucania, Tricarico, Lagonegro, Muro Lucano, Grassano, Marsicovetere, Bella, Tursi, Maratea, Irsina, Palazzo San Gervasio, Latronico, Stigliano, Marsico Nuovo, Rapolla, Pietragalla, Francavilla in Sinni, Moliterno, Pomarico
Source: Wikipedia
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