The south of the Italian boot is irresistible to our desires elsewhere. A destination, only 2h30 from Paris, which is accompanied by an obvious fact: the heart of the Mediterranean is endowed with a thousand age-old charms. No, tourism does not stop below Naples, and Sicily is not the only destination in southern Italy.
Who could imagine the historical importance of Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria? These are lands of encounters, exchanges and frontiers which, for millennia, have formed a crossroads of civilizations and cultures. Without forgetting the strategic impact of a region which was a bridge between East and West, which welcomed as many Greeks as Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Angevins, Bourbons... who left architectural treasures such as these castles, churches, cathedrals, chapels in the rock... Excavations have uncovered some of their treasures and many other riches since the Paleolithic era, which have enriched the collections of museums and archaeological parks. Thus this incredible melting pot of influences and beliefs has left considerable vestiges in these three regions, studded with wild flowers and exuberant cacti.
Southern Italy is of course an enchanting trio, between sea or mountain, gastronomy and a sense of hospitality. Here, nature and the coastline magnify the landscape and enrich the table. The sea, a tireless source of food, home to swordfish and cod (among others), provides a livelihood for many people and spreads its clear waters over southern Puglia and the Tyrrhenian coast. She comes to lick delicately the Roman ruins, the small typical fishing villages as well as the biggest hotel complexes.
The Mediterranean civilization is superimposed on the civilization of the mainland and traditional peasant values. The inland of these three regions does not fail to impress the visitor. National parks, medieval villages on the Apulian plain, Basilicata villages clinging to the rock, Byzantine sites lost in the Calabrian mountains... The most unexpected of the landscapes is the one you discover when you go down far from the coast, where fortified farms, mountain sanctuaries and the ruins of old castles abound. Here live people who are strongly attached to their land and who, despite the differences in character from one region to another, bear the mark of this southern identity, mixed with joy and meditation. So let us be charmed by this little piece of authentic Italy, where Matera (Basilicata), elected 2019 Capital of Culture, highlights more than ever its cultural jewels and provides an excellent opportunity to fly to this Mediterranean heart with its warm population and landscapes bathed in dazzling light.
The editorial team.