Basilicata, region (1991 pop. 610,528), 3,856 sq mi (9,987 sq km), S Italy, bordering on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the southwest and on the Gulf of Taranto in the southeast. It forms the instep of the Italian "boot." Potenza is the capital of Basilicata, which is divided into Potenza and Matera provs. (named for their capitals). The region is crossed by the Lucanian Apennines; its main river is the Bradano. Because of a dry climate and a scarcity of groundwater, farming is difficult, although it is the occupation of most inhabitants of the generally poor region. Olives, plums, and cereals are grown, and sheep and goats are raised. There is also some fishing. The transportation network is very limited, and commerce and industry are minimal, except in the Pisticci zone where a chemical plant is located. Natural gas also has been discovered near Matera. Basilicata corresponds to most of ancient Lucania and to part of ancient Samnium. Rome took the region in 272 B.C.; it later passed in turn to the Lombards, to the Byzantines, and (11th cent.) to the Norman duchy of Apulia, of which Melfi (now in Basilicata) was the capital. Although later a part of the kingdom of Naples, Basilicata was controlled by virtually independent feudal lords. Malaria, still a scourge on the coasts, caused the flourishing coastal towns to be abandoned in the early Middle Ages. In the 20th cent. there have been reclamation works and social and land reforms in Basilicata, but many of the inhabitants have emigrated to foreign countries (especially the United States) or have taken jobs in the industrial cities of N Italy. The region has suffered numerous earthquakes.

Basilicata is a region in the south of Italy, bordering on Campania to the west, Apulia (Puglia) to the east, Calabria to the south, it has one short coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea and another of the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea to the south-east. The region may be thought of as the "instep" of Italy, with Calabria functioning as the "toe" and Apulia the "heel." The region covers 9,992 km² and in 2001 had a population of about 600,000 inhabitants. The regional capital is Potenza. The region is divided into two provinces: Potenza and Matera.


The region is as a whole mountainous, the highest point of the southern Apennines being Monte Pollino (2233 m or 7325 ft). Monte Vulture, in the northwest corner (Vulture area), is an extinct volcano (1330 m or 4365 ft). The mountainous terrain made communications difficult until modern times, and Basilicata was one of the least developed provinces of Italy. Large-scale emigration meant that Basilicata's population grew by only 12% during the twentieth century, the slowest rate in Italy. Basilicata also used to be one of the poorest regions in Italy, but has become significantly richer over the past couple of years because of the discovery of oil.

Basilicata is divided into two provinces:


Roman Period

In Roman times the district was called Lucania and was administered together with the district of Bruttium (inhabited by the Bruttii), to the south.

The district of Lucania was so called from the people bearing the name Lucani (Lucanians), who invaded the country about the middle of the 5th century BC, driving the indigenous tribes, known to the Greeks as Oenotrians, Chones, and Leuterni (or Leutarni), into the mountainous interior. The coasts on both sides were occupied by powerful Greek colonies, part of Magna Graecia.

The Lucanians were engaged in hostilities with the Greek colony of Taras/Tarentum, and with Alexander, king of Epirus, who was called in by the Tarentine people to their assistance, in 326 BC, thus providing a precedent for Epirote interference in the affairs of Magna Graecia.

In 298, Livy records, they made alliance with Rome, and Roman influence was extended by the colonies of Venusia (291), Paestum (Greek Posidonia, refounded in 273), and above all Roman Tarentum (refounded in 272).

Subsequently, however, the Lucanians suffered by choosing the losing side in the various wars on the peninsula in which Rome took part. They were sometimes in alliance with Rome, but more frequently engaged in hostilities, during the Samnite wars.

When Pyrrhus of Epirus landed in Italy, 281 they were among the first to declare in his favor, and after his abrupt departure they were reduced to subjection, in a ten year campaign (272).

Enmity continued to run deep; they espoused the cause of Hannibal during the Second Punic War (216), and Lucania was ravaged by both armies during several campaigns.

The country never recovered from these disasters, and under the Roman government fell into decay, to which the Social War, in which the Lucanians took part with the Samnites against Rome (90 - 88 BC), gave the finishing stroke.

In the time of Strabo the Greek, cities on the coast had fallen into insignificance, and owing to the decrease of population and cultivation malaria began to obtain the upper hand.

The few towns of the interior were of no importance. A large part of the province was given up to pasture, and the mountains were covered with forests, which abounded in wild boars, bears and wolves.

Medieval Period

For several centuries the area was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire - having been conquered in Justinian's war with the Ostrogoths, and retained even when the Byzantines lost contol over most other parts of Italy.

During that time the area became identitied as a domain of the Basileus (King), Greek title of the Byzantine Emperor. From this was derived the name it continued to bear also when Byzantine rule ended with the invasion of the Norman Robert Guiscard in the 10th Century, and which it continues to bear at present.

(To be extended)

Modern Period

It's a place that you can go to to be at.


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