Italy 2016

Lagopesole, Laghi Monticchio & Monte Vulture

Lago Piccolo de Monticchio in the former crater of Vulture Volcano

Lagopesole castle sits atop the pleasant village. We spent two nights here when we explored Mount Vulture

The Church in the Abbey "Abazzia di San Michele" is built in the cave, as most of the building itself

Sosta camper at Agroturismo L'Assiolo de Marisa Iacovone, Diga di San Giuliano


Exploring the caves on the rims of Gravina de Mareta

Chiesa de Cristo la Selva, a famous rupestrian cave church

Late lunch at "La Nonna Rosa" before visiting the Sassi di Caveoso

The interior of a sasso (Casa-Grotta di Vico Solitario)
as it was before people were forced to leave the Sassi

The sasso districts are extraordinarily riddled with serpentine alleyways and staircases. Today Matera contains some 3000 habitable caves. It looks like a painting!

A "chiesa rupestre", an old cave church

Underneath the Vittorio Veneto square is a huge water cistern Palombaro Lungo

Lunch at "Sofi"

The other side of Gravina di Matera and the pedestrian bridge over the river

Views of the plunging ravine and Matera's Sassi from the Belvedere
Masseria Radogna, Matera

Neolithic Tombs from populations who lived here from 7000 to 3500 B.C.

The old farmhouse next to our camper aire had some interesting accessories...

Our pleasant aire next to the masserie (farm house)

Villapiana Scalo (Ionian Sea)

Beautiful mimosa trees surround us

The sky and the beach

Our little camper on the ferry to Sicily

Our first sight of the impressive volcano Etna on Sicily from our aire

Monday 4.4 2016: Foce del Sele - Lagopesole (elev 820m): 143km, sunny 22ºC
We left Campania to reach the district of Basilicata. We drove 3 hours to Potenza, an ugly city which was has been ravaged by earthquake, the last in 1980, to try to find a big supermarket and a laundry. But we decided to continue to Lagopesole where we parked up at the Castello di Federico II, a little unlevel but still manageable: N40º48'27" E15º43'57". Walk down to the turist office, ice cream across the street at Doria Café before doing the possible grocery shopping at the mini-market that opens at 5pm. Laundry to the Lavanderia which would have everything ready for the next day at 5:30pm.
Tuesday 5.4.2016: Laghi Monticchio and Monte Vulture: 74km, sunny 20ºC
Drive to the lakes in the Vulture Volcano where we hit the train 31 from our Rother Wanderfuehrer Apulien-Basilikata (4,5 hours 12,8 km, 850 m elevation). The most interesting was the Abbey and Church built into a rock cave. After the walk we had a little snack with a beer in one of the bars at the small lake (10€). Back in Lagopesole we went to a bigger mini-market Sigma and fetched our clean clothes at the lavanderia (3 washing machines and ironing 30€). Before finishing the day we visited the castle (2€ pax), but I didn't find it very interesting. Overnight stay on the parking of the castle. N40º48'27" E15º43'57"
Wednesday 6.4.2016: Lagopesole - Diga di San Giuliano/Miglionico: 108 km, sunny/cloudy 20ºC
Drive to the Agroturismo L'Assiolo de Marisa Iacovone, a "CL" listed in Fattori Amici (FA) located at the reservoir San Giuliano -which we didn't see from there- (electricity, water, sewage, 1 day for free with our FA membership). As the owner told us, this aire is completely new, we are probably the first ones who came here. We spent a relaxed day with lunch outside and Julia finally made up with the travel website. We bought 1,5 l olive oil for 10€ and had even a good espresso offered by the owner. N40.59639º E 16.52715º
Thursday 7.4.2016: Diga di San Giuliano/Assiole - Matera (elev 430m): 41km, cloudy 16ºC
Hike "Cristo la Selva" (Rother Wanderfuehrer Apulien-Basilikata Nº 27, 3,5 hours, 7,6 km where we hiked the on the rim of the gorge Gravina di Matera, a 200m-deep canyon with abandoned caves and villages and chiese rupestri (cave churches), very impressive. Then we parked at the Castello and walked down to the Sasso Caveoso, but not before having a delicious lunch with "parmeggiani di melanzane) and "orecchietti alle cime di rape" (rape is a kind of turnip locally grown) -at 3:30pm- at the "da Nonna Rosa" (Via Lucana 166, 27€). We visited the Casa-Grotta di Vico Solitarioa, sassi (typical caves sheltering families with an average of six children) and saw how a film crew was changing the front wals of the sassis. We drove to Sosta camper Masseria Radogna Jazzo Gattini, where we were greeted by Paolo who explained us what we should see. Tomorrow at 9am he will drive us to Matera. Very nice aire with eletricity and water (12€/night) N40º40'15" E16º37'56".
Friday 8.4.2016: Matera: 31km, rain and then cloudy becoming sunny in late afternoon, 18ºC
Our friendly aire keeper, Mr. Paolo, drove us to Matera in the morning. Visit of the brilliant multimedia exhibit "Casa Noha" (4€ pax) which is hosted in several rooms of a 16th century palazzo. The presentation is made using films projected onto various walls. Visit of the Palombaro Lungo, a huge water cistern which is underneath the Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Lunch at the Restaurant Sofi (43€, very good). Walk back to our aire/Sosta Camper  along the path 406 to the Belvedere and further to the Parco de la Murgia Materana. We were very lucky with the weather which was supposed to be bad all day long. When we arrived "home", it began to rain. Drive to Iveco located on the Via Tecnica where went to see if they are able to find out where a special noise comes from, very nice service, they didn't charge anything, although they inspected the truck from all sides. And finally drive and grocery shopping at IperCoop, north of Matera (Centro Comerciale 3). Back to our Sosta Camper Masseria Radogna.
Saturday 9.4.2016: Matera - Villapiana Scalo: 136km, sunny, windy 19ºC
In the morning we walked to the Neolithic Tombs from populations who lived  just 100m away from our site. Then we explored the Masseria Radogna, a typical farmhouse dating back to the mid 19th century that is right on our aire. We left this nice place -where we have been alone on the two nights- and drove to Villapiana Scalo on the Ionian Sea. It is the first time I see a really nice beach with pleasant restaurants, although it is strange that they are closed today on Saturday, when I would have expected that people would enjoy coming to the beach side. So we stayed here and relaxed for the rest of the day. N39º47'44" E16º29'15"
Sunday 10.4.2017: Villapiana Scalo - Recanati / Giardini Naxo, Sicily: 305km, cloudy and cold 18ºC
Drive to Villa San Giovanni where we took a Bluferry (55€ one way or 95€ return) to Messina. But, we were surprised when we noticed that the ferry was navigating further south then to the port of Messines. We actually arrived on the south side of Messina at Tremestieri which made it easier for us to continue south to Giardini Naxos/Recanati. We chose to stay at the Sosta Camper "Lagani" (13,50€ per night with electricity). A nice place with fantastic views up to the volcano Etna and it is constantly emitting dark fumaroles, this is scary!

Italy 2016