A Fantastic Week of Memories
Updated: Jun 7, 2018
For us, one of the great joys of running a La Lucana tour is that we get to meet all sorts of interesting and wonderful people. Our most recent tour was no different. With a fantastic new Italian expert partner from California, a couple of Italian Americans with their roots in the south and even an opera singer, we spent an amazing week together showing our new friends exactly what Basilicata has to offer.
An experience with us virtually always begins with a visit to Matera, the jewel in the crown of Basilicata. Our guests enjoyed their private morning tour of the Sassi di Matera and then settled down for a lovely aperitivo in front of a simply stunning view. In the afternoon, they go to meet a local baker who is continuing his family business with a passion and enthusiasm that surprised our guests. 'It's so great to see a young man so passionate about his tradition and family business' our guests commented. We agree and it's meeting people like this that Basilicata is all about. Following our trip to the bakery, we went to meet a local artisan who makes the famous 'cucu' of Matera. Our guests were amazed by her hospitality whilst in her studio (she'd even baked some cakes for us!) and were fascinated in how she makes these wonderful clay ornaments.
After a day in Matera, it was time to spend a day at the farm and do some cooking. We had so much fun introducing our guests to a local pasta maker who led them through the process of making all sorts of different pasta shapes. It's a lot harder than it looks you know! Just look at those concentrated faces... :)
In the afternoon, following a traditional long table lunch of course, it was time to take a tour of our olive groves and learn a little bit about how to taste olive oil. Our farm, with around 3000 olive trees, is a big producer of olive oil and although we weren't in olive season, we could still tell our guests all about the process we go through each year.
Our third day together saw us visit some of the real hidden gems out in the countryside of Basilicata, including the mysterious ghost town of Craco. Our guests often found themselves to be the only tourists in these villages and towns and it's through that they managed to get a real glimpse of traditional Italian life.
We've found that during an experience with us, our guests often appreciate a day out and about around Basilicata and then a day filled with activities at the farm. That's why the following day we invited both a 'casaro' (cheese maker) and a sommelier (wine expert) to the farm to give demonstrations and tastings on two of Italy's most famous products. For us, La Lucana is all about letting our guests get up close and personal to these unique aspects of our culture and we were so glad that they had a good time.
No trip to Basilicata would be complete without two things. First a visit to the Southern Dolomite mountains and the amazingly beautiful villages of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa and secondly an evening with local folk musicians and even a dancer. What a wonderful way to say goodbye to these lovely guests...we already miss them! :)
We'll close this blog by quoting George, one of the Italian American guests who enjoyed himself so much during this week. He said, 'People keep asking me why do you always keep going back to Italy? I tell them because there's always something new to see!' We love that! x