“Discovering lagonegrese” itinerary

From the charming Maratea, Lucania’s only outlet into the deep blue Tyrrhenian Sea, just a few kilometres away is a completely different landscape. The villages in the hinterland are decidedly more hilly and mountainous in appearance, and differ in morphology and landscape, all with their own story to tell.

Not far from the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea is the “garden city”: Trecchina. Famous for producing chestnuts, the unique flavour of the sweets and ice-creams made from this fruit will tantalise the tastebuds of anyone who stops here. But Trecchina offers more than just sweet temptations. Outdoor enthusiasts should not miss the Parco delle Stelle park. Located on the mountain of Serra Pollino in an extraordinary natural setting that allows you to admire the Tyrrhenian coast and the Gulf of Policastro from above. The exciting Parco delle Stelle is unique in its scenic beauty and offers a variety of thrilling, adrenaline-pumping attractions, as well as the opportunity to enjoy outdoor sports, cycling, horse riding and simply to relax in the green surroundings. On the mountain of Serra Pollino, at 1099 metres above sea level, the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso can still be admired. You can get to the place of worship by leaving the village and following a path that is one of the most scenic in the Lagonegrese area, immersed in the untouched green of nature.

From Trecchina we continue to the pretty village of Rivello, located on a hill overlooking the Valle del Noce valley. The small village has a peculiar urban structure, both because it extends over three hills, Motta, Serra and Poggio, and because its origins are due to the establishment of two distinct settlements, as in the past the village was fought over by the Lombards and Byzantines. This division can still be perceived today in the architecture, rituals and town planning. There is in fact a Latin area built around the Mother Church of San Nicola and another Greek area extending from the Mother Church of Santa Maria del Poggio, both dating from the 9th century. Among the various places of worship in the area, the Convent of Sant’Antonio deserves a special mention. Dating back to the 16th century, it is embellished with valuable frescoes by the Todisco brothers. Giovanni Todisco is responsible for the fresco of the Last Supper, located in the refectory, whose peculiarity lies in the fact that it shows absolutely non-canonical dishes belonging to the local food and wine tradition. Handicrafts are also very important and the village is famous for making iron and copper objects.

Going further inland, our gaze is caught by the hilly scenery of Lauria, the town of Blessed Domenico Lentini. With its illustrious past, it is remembered for its heroic resistance in the attempt to stop the advance of Napoleon’s army, which led to the burning and sacking of 1806, a resistance that earned it the title of Semper fidelis from the Bourbons. The town is also known for the presence of the Sanctuary of the Madonna Assunta, an ancient Basilian monastery, as well as the ruins of the Ruggero castle, named after the bloodthirsty Aragonese admiral, famous for having emerged victorious from all the battles he fought. Visitors to the town can delight their tastebuds with many typical products, including the otto, viscuttini c’u naspru and anginetti biscuits, recognised as Deco products.

From Lauria, the route heads towards Nemoli, a picturesque town characterised by a network of alleyways, stairways and eighteenth-century buildings, located a few kilometres from Lake Sirino. The picturesque water basin, surrounded by greenery and the houses that literally overlook it, is ideal for relaxing and refreshing walks in the heat of summer days, while in autumn it becomes a favourite destination for foliage lovers. Several times a year it is the natural stage for various shows involving the interplay of light and sound directly on the water.

The last stop in the area is the city of Lagonegro, characterised by its medieval layout. It has a peculiar urban structure, seemingly clinging to a cliff dotted with steep, narrow streets and many churches. In the oldest part of the village, the remains of the feudal castle are still visible and dominate the entire town. The city is famous for being the birthplace of the famous and sadly missed Lucanian singer-songwriter Pino Mango and also because, according to a legend, the remains of Da Vinci’s famous muse Mona Lisa are said to have found their eternal home in the Church of San Nicola, where, according to popular tradition, she died during one of her journeys.