Italy is full of hidden gems. Places of immense, photogenic beauty, but also full of history and traditions. Come and find out these wonders.
When you are looking for unusual places where to spend a vacation different from the usual and, why not, full of adventure, Italy has to offer many destinations, really all to be discovered! One of these is Castelmezzano, a fairytale village in Basilicata that, with its unique landscapes, will be able to bewitch even the most demanding tourists.
Fantastic villages and where to find them: Castelmezzano
Some Italian destinations, such as the island of Capri or the fabulous Venice, because of their incredible charm, have ended up being a bit "overused": everybody wants to go there, many already did, others have certainly planned a vacation there.
Even without denying the beauty of these places, Italy hides fantastic treasures to be discovered, which maybe the general public is not aware of. If you are looking for a magical place or a destination different from the usual, the winning choice could be going to Castelmezzano in Basilicata, a town of rare charm, able to satisfy both an audience eager for a pleasant place, or the most free and adventurous spirits. How is this possible? We're just going to find it out!
Castelmezzano and its rocks
Castelmezzano is part of a territory exceptional by the naturalistic point of view: together with the municipalities of Pietrapertosa, Accettura, Calciano and Oliveto Lucano, it is in fact part of the Dolomiti Lucane park.
The municipality, having little more than 700 inhabitants, is located in the province of Potenza. The rocky conformation in which the village is set gives it a particular aura, almost crib-like.
The beauty and uniqueness of the houses with sandstone roofs and the historic center perched on the rock made Castelmezzano a place known for its exceptionality, making it enter by right among the "most beautiful villages in Italy".
Moreover, Castelmezzano is one of the "best practices" of community tourism on the national territory indicated in the FAO and UNWTO world report on sustainable mountain tourism.
Being captured by this enchanted village is very easy and, in addition, you can't help to take a few selfies and share them on social networks- for the envy of all your friends!
A bit of history
Castelmezzano was built between the sixth and fifth century BC and the choice to take refuge among the rocks is because of the Saracen raids of the period, from which the inhabitants had to defend themselves.
The village underwent various dominations: after the Lombard one, it was the turn of the Normans, under whom, however, the village could prosper.
In fact, just from the name of the castle built by these last ones, Castrum Medianum (meaning “middle castle”) the town took its name. Later Castelmezzano passed to the Aragonese, but it was only under the government of Baron Giovanni Antonio De Leonardis that the village began to prosper.
Today, this precious place enclosed in the Lucanian Dolomites can boast of many honors, including that of one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Why go to Castelmezzano?
If it was not enough that the village has been included among the most beautiful in Italy and perhaps in the world, recently Castelmezzano has also become orange flag of the Italian Touring Club, as proof of the growing interest around this magical place.
We have already talked about the timeless charm of this medieval village set in the rock, but the real surprise are the steep stairways carved into the rock itself, climbing higher and higher, completely integrated into the natural landscape, with a truly breathtaking result.
And this is another of the strengths of the town: nature and human work meeting to give life to an incredible view, a witness of how many men can build wonders in full respect of nature.
Absolutely to see: the remains of the Norman castle, Palazzo Coiro, and the Ducal Palace of De Lerma. Without forgetting the church of Santa Maria dell'Olmo and Piazza Caiazzo, centre of the village and meeting place for inhabitants and visitors.
What to do in Castelmezzano
Castelmezzano means nature, adventure, fun, and dream. We have already told how this fantastic location in the province of Potenza can be suitable for many different types of tourism and needs. Let's see in detail how to best enjoy a stay in this incredible village.
To begin with, if you are adventurous souls, you could try your hand at the "flight of the angel". The flight of the angel is a real experience to try, allowing you to see Castelmezzano and surroundings from a "perspective" really special: it is in fact to travel, at a speed of 120 km / h, the distance separating Castelmezzano from Pietrapertosa, traveling on a steel cable between the rocky peaks of the Dolomites of Lucania! Certainly not an experience recommended for those who suffer from vertigo, but if you’re not afraid, this is something really unmissable. A view usually reserved only for bird population.
This fantastic adventure is obviously organized in such a way that the safety of the participants is protected, so to enjoy this flight in a carefree manner. Moreover, it does not necessarily have to be a solitary experience, but you can also do it in couple, adding to the incredible thrill of being in the air, even a dose of healthy romance!
Once you arrive in each of the two villages, you can organize excursions and visits to historic centers, as well as tastings of fantastic local products.
The typical dishes to try are different and all very interesting. Here is a short list of the delicacies to taste in Castelmezzano: Strangolapreti with ricotta cheese and mint; kid with barbecued potatoes; u Cuttiridd, a dish with sheep meat and vegetables; the "sauze'z", a typical salami; the "Pizzatl", the characteristic focaccia; the "Crostl" typical desserts made with honey.
If once satiated with delights, you are still not satisfied of adventure, it is such the case to make a detour to the Gradinata Normanna, a staircase carved into one of the Dolomites spires, allowing you to admire a unique panorama.