In the Basento Valley | Between Roman remains and trendsetting architecture

The city of Potenza is surrounded by a dense scrub of beech, oak, chestnut and pine trees, and dotted with various green spaces that give local neighbourhoods a space to play and relax. Between city parks and the immediate surroundings, some of Potenza’s views can be enjoyed in a pleasant harmony between nature and architecture.
● From bridge to bridge
The synergy with which nature, history and the drive towards futuristic horizons have created singular corners such as the Basento River Park is captivating: an exploratory walk by the river allows immediate immersion in a completely new and unexpected dimension, detached from the urban bustle, in a stretch of the city between two significant architectural structures, antithetical to each other, the Ponte San Vito bridge and the Ponte Musmeci bridge.
The Ponte San Vito bridge, of Roman origin, was built in the Diocletian era in the second half of the 3rd century AD. Its solidity comes through the stone with which it was built and from the three-span structure that characterises it. A founding element of this area, for centuries it has witnessed the slow flow of the waters of the Basento, offering those who cross it the feeling of coming into contact with past eras. From here, the pedestrian path runs along the river, ideal for walks and runs in the open air in perfect symbiosis with nature.
Following the entire promenade along the river, you will reach the Ponte Musmeci bridge, a real work of art with a muscular and plastic structure, designed in the late 1960s by the architect from which it takes its name. Its design is unique: a single vault with a thickness of only 30 cm is supported by 4 spans whose profile recalls that of an enormous crumpled leaf, whose tips act as support pillars. Suggestively lit in the evening, it overlooks the point where the Basento bed becomes wider, making way for small waterfalls and shady clearings
● In an ancient Roman villa
From Viale del Basento you can easily reach the Malvaccaro district, where another important piece of Potenza’s cultural heritage is found. This is the Roman Villa dating back to the 3rd-4th century. It is spread over several levels and its stunning rooms can all be visited, enriched by polychrome mosaics and often used for cultural events.
● On the escalators to the city centre
In this same district there is access to the well-known escalators, the longest in Europe, not to be missed. They connect opposite parts of the city allowing you to get to the historic centre in just a few minutes.
In this way you can stop off in the centre and visit the Dinu Adamesteanu National Archaeological Museum, where you can retrace the succession of peoples and cultures that have characterised Basilicata, from the Greek colonisation to the Roman conquest.
After having spent the morning amidst historical reminders and a few small tastes of Lucanian nature, you can think about trying the local delicacies cooked with care and attention to tradition at the city’s various trattorias, historic places for the Lucanian palate and a place to recharge for visitors, before setting off to discover the green and more playful side of the city and its immediate surroundings.
● From the WWF Oasis of Pantano di Pignola to the woods of Rifreddo and Sellata
A few kilometres from the urban perimeter, nature reigns supreme. The splendid natural oasis that arises around the Pantano di Pignola lake will enchant with the wealth of flora and fauna that inhabit it. Green expanses unfold at the foot of the tall mountains of the Lucanian Apennines, stretching to the edge of the oasis and creating an area crossed by paths usually frequented by lovers of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Continuing to climb in altitude, you enter the woods of Rifreddo and Sellata, where picnic areas and the possibility of doing outdoor sports both in winter (thanks to the presence of ski facilities) and in summer, make the area suitable for tourists of all ages.