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Postby AngelaGrace56 » 15 Apr 2016, 00:40

I'm planning to visit Italy in the next year or so, the main intention is to go back to my roots, connect with family, who mostly all live Northern Italy, and to visit my parents respective home towns in Potenza. I would like to spend quite some time in the province of Potenza, experience the culture there, eat the food I grew up with, visit places my parents talked about etc, and I would appreciate feedback from anyone who has visited or toured the province of Potenza, about any of the following:

1, How would you travel to the Province of Potenza from either Milan or Rome?
2. What is the best mode of travel between towns e.g. Moliterno to Grumento Nova?
3. What modes of public transport are there in Potenza?
4. Any recommendations of interesting places to visit, or things to do.
5. Recommended tours that you may have taken.
6. Accommodation recommendations.
7, Best time of the year to visit, I was thinking some time September – November or late April – early June.
8. Is the dialect still spoken there? (I'm guessing maybe only by the seniors in smaller towns.)
9. Re Grumento Nova: Any information and/or experience you might have regarding the Town Hall, Church and Cemetery there. Places to eat and/or stay there. (From what I've read there are no restaurants there and maybe only one good place to stay.)

These are just a few questions I've been thinking about, I'm sure I'll have heaps more, and I would really appreciate any thoughts, advice, experiences anyone would like to share. Anything, would be helpful.


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Postby vcir6 » 21 Apr 2016, 14:33

Hi Angela, I was there last year July to September and the best time to go is Late August to November when the weather cools down a bit. There is a fast train from Milan to Rome takes 4 hours then a Bus to Villa D'agri near Viggiano and Grumento Nova also takes 4 hours.
My roots are in Marsiconuovo but I was born in Saponara in 1956. PM me for more info.


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Postby mark04ox » 22 Apr 2016, 13:26

Hi Angela,

My roots are in Potenza province, and I've been visiting every summer for the last 7 years.

There are plenty of rail links from the north to Potenza, usually connecting either through Foggia or Salerno, but you should check and make sure that driving isn't faster/cheaper, depending on when you're going. From Milan, it could even be easiest to get a budget flight to Naples or Bari, and hire a car at the airport.

I would highly recommend hiring a car to get around the countryside. There are very few rail links, and the buses are often very infrequent (sometimes only once or twice a day to some of the villages). Without a car, you'll miss out on a lot. There's a car hire place in the town of Potenza which I've used without any problems in the past, or you can hire one in Rome or wherever you're coming from and drive there easily.

Places to visit: Castelmezzano is a must-see (a beautiful fairy tale village in the mountains, with an excellent restaurant, a zip-wire, and the remains of a Norman fortress). If you drive down to the southwest coast of Potenza, Maratea is really stunning--all the charm of the Amalfi coast without the tourists. If you like wine, check out Rionero in the northwest of the province, where the famous Aglianico del Vulture is made, and also the old Norman capital of Melfi, which has some beautiful ruins.

Also, if you've never been to neighbouring Matera province, you really have to visit Matera itself--it's an incredible, unique place, the oldest continuously inhabited human settlement in the world--indescribably beautiful. The nearby ghost village of Craco is also well worth a visit, and you can check out Aliano where Carlo Levi was exiled, and Metaponto where Pythagoras lived and died.

Dialect is still spoken in most villages, though young people these days are mostly bilingual (Italian + dialect) and speak Italian most of the time (they probably understand dialect better than they speak it). Still, you will hear it often.

For accommodation, I highly recommend staying in at least one agriturismo while you are there -- these are (usually organic) family farms where they have converted part of their farmhouse into (very comfortable) accommodation, and they cook meals for you with the produce they grow. It's an excellent way to get to know people and to see the countryside. A favourite of mine is 'La Dolce Vita' near Abriola, and there's a brilliant one run by an amazing family just outside the village of Cancellara, called 'Bioagrisalute'.

In the town of Potenza itself, there aren't very many options, but there's a lovely B&B called 'Al Convento' which is in an old convent in the old town. Make sure to book well in advance, because they only have a couple of rooms.

If you do stay in Matera at all, make sure to stay in a cave hotel, as that's half the point of going there! But again, you have to book well in advance, because it is very popular.

Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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Re: Visiting Towns in Potenza, Basilicata

Postby AngelaGrace56 » 27 Apr 2016, 04:23

Hi Vito and Mark

Thank you both so much for your replies. I will get back to each of you, either by pm or through the forum, hopefully in the next couple of days. There are so many great suggestions here, most of which I knew nothing about. I knew about the Caves in Matera – apparently my great grandfather was held to ransom there, by bandits?, had his ear severed, and managed to escape, and was then honoured for his bravery, in some way, by the Town.... Well that's what I was told. (There's possibly a written story about this somewhere?) I had no idea about the Cave Hotels.....intriguing! I've just googled them. They look amazing.

Thank you again. Any more ideas, I'll be very interested and thankful.

Angela :D

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