|Looking across Italy's Wild West, the rugged mountains of Basilicata with deep, austere ravines that are covered in a carpet of broom and violets in spring|
Basilicata is one of the most dramatic yet least known regions of Southern Italy. From tiny, hilltop villages where you can listen to poetry while looking at the moon, to Francis Ford Coppola's beautiful hotel that draws actors and directors from around the world along with the Lucania Film Festival, this place is full of magic and secrets. Story & photographs by Mariangela Curci
|Glowing lamps at twilight on the terrace at Pisticci|
The little villages up in the hills are intact and untouched as if time has stayed still, populated by simple, welcoming people who make any stay here quite unforgettable. But Lucania, the old name of the region, is not as isolated as it seems. Many artists, film directors, poets and composers have stayed here and been inspired, offering homage to this ruggedly beautiful region.
|The ancient city of Matera looks to the future|
|Late afternoon summer espresso in Bernalda|
|Rivello lost in a deep and mysterious landscape|
Lucania is an unusual place, where you can experience and live a unique way of life, far from everyday cares, and feel like you are in a film. You arrive in Basilicata on the old railway line with a train with just two carriages that leaves platform Nine and Three-Quarters like the express for Hogwarts. As the train trundles through the mountains, you look out and become immersed in the silence of a deep and mysterious country.
|After the summer siesta in Pisticci|
In Satirano, during one day of the year at Carnival time, the men of this village dress themselves as trees and the surrounding forest appears to walk. In Lucania, you meet fortune tellers, musicians, and magicians. During the magic summer of Albano, you can still see traps set out to capture witches and symbolic fires lit to burn them, traditions that go back to medieval times.
|The sun-baked main piazza of Salandra|
|Poetry and films under the stars at Pisticci|
Pictured below is the Cinecitta Bar that overlooks the main square of Bernalda, designed by Sofia Coppola as a homely place for a good espresso and a pizza, while you watch the townspeople go by. It is at the front of the Coppola's 19th Century Palazzo Margherita which they renovated and restored with French architect Jaques Grange as a luxurious boutique hotel with a film screening room, beautiful frescoed salons and lush, leafy gardens and fountains.
|Francis Ford Coppola's Cinecitta Bar in Bernalda|
Every village in Basilicata is different and enriched by it's own particular quirks. People tell different stories of their experiences, recounting the peculiarities of each place in their own way. Basilicata is like a small, secret world lost in time but looking out toward the future.
Translated from the Italian by Jeanne-Marie Cilento