The Lucanian Dolomites
This excursion takes visitors to the beautiful, medieval, mountain-top villages, of Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa, which are nestled amongst the jagged, sharp-toothed Dolomiti Lucane mountains (a much smaller version of their North Italian counterpart). Both towns are situated in the heart of the Gallipoli Cognato National Park & offer stunning panoramas of the surrounding countryside: a mixture of small, steep mountains, valleys, rolling hills and farm-land. Here, you'll take in breathtaking scenery as you stroll through the narrow, winding streets of Pietrapertosa, where you can visit the ruins of a medieval Saracen/Norman fortress & then walk the 2 km. "Path of Seven Stones", originally an old shepherd's trail, to Castelmezzano. The "seven stones" refer to the 7 contemporary stone installation pieces that line this nature path.
Then I suggest having a liesurely lunch in a charming local restaurant, with a delicious sampling of the area's traditional cuisine before exploring the village & then heading back to Matera.
*For the more adventurous, I suggest doing the "Volo del Angelo", one of the longest zip-lines in Europe! See website below for details.
Having your own transportation (and a sense of adventure!) is a must, as public transport is limited.. You will need to coordinate a ride back from Castelmezzano to Pietrapertosa. Information for how to do this can be foundhere: https://www.volodellangelo.com/eng/web/contatti.asp
Duration: this is a full day excursion, so allow for an entire day.
Level of difficulty: moderate. *Cross-trainer shoes or light hiking boots with good traction are a must!