Renaissance bagpiper

Renaissance Nativity in Matera

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. (I think that’s from a song…) Commercial enterprises have certainly made the most of it, perhaps one could say, even exploited that “feeling.” But that’s because there really is a specialness to the season, and when I laid eyes on the beautiful Renaissance nativity in Matera, I knew that it had …

Imma Tataranni, Crime Drama in Matera, Southern Italy

A combination of mystery, comedy and travel, the Italian television series Imma Tataranni takes viewers on an armchair trip to Matera, the evocative Città dei Sassi (Stone City) in the Basilicata region, located in the instep of the Italian boot. The beautifully filmed drama follows the career and family life of its protagonist and intrepid investigator Imma Tataranni. 

Salvador Dalí in Matera

Salvador Dalí in Matera, Old and New in South Italy

Visitors to Matera in recent years can’t help but have noticed the oversized Dalí sculptures strategically placed throughout the historic center. The contrast between the artist’s provocative surrealism and the old-world setting, extraordinary in itself, cries out for attention in a very contemporary way. Look at me! Take a selfie! Who would have expected to see Salvador Dalí in Matera?

Brigand path in the Pollino Mountains

What is a Brigand?

The word “brigand” – brigante in Italian – is heard quite a bit with reference to Southern Italy, and I have noticed a certain confusion, particularly amongst English speakers, as to its significance. It’s an important term in understanding the Italian South and the history of Italy, so I thought I’d contribute my two cents to the question, “What is …

wine grottos

Pietragalla, Magical World of the “Palmenti” Wine Grottos in Basilicata

The wine grottos of Pietragalla capture the imagination. The little cave-like structures that emerge spontaneously from the earth evoke another world, perhaps that of an ancient people or even of hobbits. They are called palmenti, and you will find this atmospheric complex in South Italy, specifically in northern Basilicata, just twenty kilometers from Potenza, the region’s capital.

Historic Games and Pastimes for Children of Southern Italy

Surrounded as we are by all sorts of diversions for our leisure time, have you ever wondered what served as the source of entertainment for children of the distant past? Or for the young at heart? Imagination and fantasy are not limited to contemporary times, so read on if you’re curious as to how people amused themselves, even before electricity, …

San Fele and its Beautiful Waterfalls in Basilicata, South Italy

Welcome to the waterfalls of San Fele, located in the Province of Potenza (PZ) in northwest Basilicata! The sign announcing the cascate begs for a photo with San Fele’s historic center nestled between the mountains in the distance. A lovely woodlands trail leads to numerous waterfalls, natural cascades in the hilly zone surrounding Mount Vulture, Basilicata’s extinct volcano.

Amaro Silano, Amaro Lucano, Vecchio Amaro del Capo

Amaro, Those Alluring Bitters, A Few Classics from Calabria and Basilicata

At the end of a copious Italian meal, you will invariably be offered something to drink, a digestivo, such as a liquore, possibly an amaro, or a brandy, perhaps a grappa… These beverages with a rather high alcoholic content aid in digestion, thus the name, digestif. Most have a strong connection with their place of origin, such as the Vecchio …