Basilicata: Vulture and the lands of Aglianico
Just a stone’s throw away from Puglia and Naples lies the lesser-know region of Basilicata a genuine surprise for travellers looking for off-the-beaten-track destinations. Basilicata still offers a real taste of Italy, stress-free lifestyle, guaranteed sunshine, deliciously fresh food and excellent wine. The northern part of region is called Vulture, from mount Vulture, an extinct volcano that rises 1360 above sea level. This is the most significant viticulture area in Basilicata, known above all for the Aglianico del Vulture wine.
The region is characterised by imposing castles such as the recently restored one of Lagopesole attributed to Frederick II. Not far is the town Melfi, also with of a beautiful Norman castle built by Roberto il Guiscardo, duke of Apulia and Calabria. The castle contains an archaeological museum. Then Monticchio, and its two lakes, with the same name, at 660 metres above sea level and which were originally two craters separated by a narrow tongue of land. Protected by a very thick green curtain of beeches, oaks, chestnut trees, alders, ash trees, maples and lime trees, here we have perhaps the most unique and picturesque sights of the Vulture. The fauna of the waters and the woods are no less numerous and boast rarities of every species. If you are thermal bath fan Rapolla spa is famous for therapeutic and prevention purposes. Mud baths are also used for cosmetic purposes. Not far off in San Fele you will be able to visit beautiful waterfalls.
The food in Vulture is really special, genuine and simple. First courses are the most carefully prepared dishes by the chefs: Acquasale, is a mixture of eggs, oil and onion with stale bread. The homemade pasta is a constant and is the main ingredient of many recipes, such as orecchiette alla materana and strangolapreti (fettuccine pasta in the shape of sticks) and cavatelli with turnip tops. As for wines you should not miss the ‘Aglianico del Vulture’ one of the finest wines in the region to which the d.o.c. mark was assigned in 1971. The volcanic soil gives the wine its rare and greatly appreciated characteristic flavour. Among the finest Italian and European wines, Aglianico del Vulture is produced from vines introduced during the times of Magna Grecia. Its ruby red or bright burgundy colour takes on orange highlights with ageing. In summertime there is a festival called ‘Aglianica’ organized in the Vulture area villages. Exhibitions, seminars, tastes, tasting laboratories, meetings show the best of the ‘Aglianico’ wine.
Departure from Bari airport at 9 am, arrival at Rionero around 11.30. Ceck-in at a country house. Lunch in a local restaurant. Visit to the Norman castles of Lagosepole and the old town. Lunch. Wine lesson no. 1 with our professional sommelier on the history of wine and its cultural importance, main vines of Basilicata, wine cultivation techniques, which glasses to use. Dinner in a local restaurant with the tasting of two wines.
Visit to the medieval town of Melfi and the Monticchio lakes and a walk in the woods. Wine lesson no. 2 (how to breath the scent of wine, typical scents of white and red wines, how to sharpen your sense, identifying aroma and bouquet). Visit secret cellar no.1 with guided tasting. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Visit to the town and spa of Rappola and the old town. Visit no. 2 to one of our secret cellars. Wine lesson no.3 (tasting wine, the senses of tasting, the link beetwen wine and territory). Lunch, visit no. 3 to one of our secret cellars built in caves. Wine tasting. Return to Bari.
Before breakfast, our more energetic guests are welcome to join us on a 40 minute slow jog among olive groves and vineyards.
The tour requires a minimum of 8 participants.
- Admire the view from the Vulture mountain.
- Visit the Norman castles of Lagopesole and Melfi with its archeological musem.
- Pause at the lakes of Monticchio, two craters separated by a tongue of land.
- Enjoy trekking in the woods of beeches, oaks, chestnuts and lime trees.
- Relax in the thermal baths of Rappola where mud is used for cosmetic purposes.
- Taste the Aglianico wine known as the “Barolo of the south” a ruby red strong wine.
- Visit our secret cellars in old caves formed by several tunnels excavated in the sandstone.
- Enjoy the simple and genuine local food, and homemade pasta specialities.
- Take part (in the summer) in the Aglianica festival. Here the Aglianico wine is shown at is best with wine laboratories, meetings and exhibitions.
- Learn to appreciate the wines of Basilicata through the lessons of our certified sommeliers.
Ask for a quote for this tour. It can change according to season.
Our poposal includes: transport from Bari to Vulture and return in Minivan. Local transport.
2 nights accomodation in a Country house with breakfast (in double room). 2 suppers (not including drinks).
3 wine lessons with our certified sommelier.
Professional guided tours to historical and artististic sites. Guided wine tasting in our selected cellars.
Prices are not inclusive of entrance tickets to musems, archeological/historic sites and other extras.
All lessons and tours are in English. Every member of group should arrange his own travel insurance against theft, loss and medical problems (we suggest Direct Travel or Alliance).