Basilicata, Italy

Basilicata is the name of a Southern region in Italy which was mentioned in the New York Times as Italia’s best-kept secret. Sassi di Matera, town district of Matera is on the UNESCO World Heritage list from 1993 and Matera became European Capital of Culture for 2019.

basilicata-matera

As the name Basilicata suggests, there may be a correlation with time when the region was part of the Byzantine Imperium, but the reason may also be Basilica of Acerenza from Middle Ages. An older name for the same region was Lucania, after Lucani, the tribe which lived here in Iron Age.

Beauty

You can enjoy in two stunning coastlines in Basilicata. There is Ionian on the East and the Tyrrhenian on the West.

The East offers beautiful white sand beaches, pine forests, crystal clear water, and shallow sea, ideal for family vacations with numerous activities created exactly for the family fun. Long walks, sailing, exploring lovely towns or simply enjoying in a peaceful day in one of the numerous beaches – just choose whatever you want.

basilicata-coast-sunset

The West coast, on the other hand, is more dramatic, with spectacular cliffs, contrasting landscapes and mountains reaching right to the coast it offers a bit more of adrenaline if you need some. With medieval towns, fishing boats, diving, and cave exploring it fits better more active visitors but also offers many breathtaking beaches for prolonged relaxation.

There are three national parks in the area of Basilicata. The Pollino National Park is the biggest in Italy, expanding to Calabria. High mountains, with tops always covered with the snow, offer an amazing view of the ancient forest reaching right to both coastal lines of Basilicata. With a bit of luck you can see some wild boars or wolves.

national-parks-basilicata
You can experience Pollino on foot, by bike, or on the horse. There are many opportunities for hiking, rafting, and real foto safari. Apart from colorful living you can see several remains of prehistoric species, a disappearing Lake Rotonda, or visit one of the organic farms. There’s a chance to sleep over in one of the eco-hostels as well.

National Park Val D’Agri Lagonegrese and The Gallipoli Cognato Park are smaller parks with some unique attractions on their own. You can find the remains of a Roman city from 3rd century BC, great challenges for rock climbers, superb views for photographers, a whole fortification system from the times of the Hannibal, …

History

Basilicata is inhabited from the Paleolithic times. In Neolithic times the areas of today Matera and Melfi already had some kind of villages. Greece established several colonies at the Ionian Sea around 8th century BC while Lucani inhabited the inland parts. Between 4th and 3rd century BC Lucani attacked Greek colonies to expand their territory but not much later Romans started their domination and kept the absolute power for several centuries.

Most of Lucania (the old name for Basilicata) stayed under Byzantium until Normans conquered the territory in the 12th century and made Melfi the capital of the region and actual center of Italy. Several political powers compete for this area after Norman realm ended. In the 18th century, several bloody rebellions by peasants happened, there was poverty, emigration, more rebellions, and even bandits. While tourism brings flows of fresh ideas, energy and money there are still many problems to solve.

basilicata-towers
There are still many magnificent towers and castles in the region, built in different times and different styles, from times of Byzantines, Angevins, Aragon, Swabians, and Normans, some better and some less preserved. These very castles served as the scenery for one of the most interesting books of all times: The Tale of Tales, written by Giambattista Basile, first national collection of fairy tales in the world, where some of the oldest versions of today still popular tales like Cinderella, The Rapunzel or The Sleeping Beauty were printed for the first time.

There is an article about this book, often called as Pentamerone, available here:

https://owlcation.com/humanities/Pentamerone

Tourists can still feel the magic in these old buildings, which mostly serve as museums and spectacular viewing points. Apart from castle, churches, and cathedrals numerous other remarkable buildings can be seen in Basilicata.

Interesting facts about history of Dubrovnik

Ever heard about Dubrovnik? Check it’s interesting history with next facts!

Dubrovnik is the pearl of Adriatic. (Lord Byron)

If you by any chance already heard about Dubrovnik, it was probably in connection with luxurious holiday locations for celebrities. It is actually not a fresh trend. I found out Agatha Christie spent her honeymoon in Dubrovnik. When we look at spectacular fortifications and amazing beaches, it is very easy to miss how much the city more has to offer.

city-walls-of-dubrovnik

So here are some interesting facts about Dubrovnik:

1. The name Dubrovnik is derived from dubrava (oak tree), but distorted by Turks to Dobro-Venedik (Good Venice). Venice was long-term rival and ally to the city.

2. Despite the legend of being founded on rocky island which served as a shelter , latest findings suggest it was established by Greek sailors what is supported with with next facts:

– being approximately half way between two well known Greek settlements,

– lying about one day of travel by a ship from each,

– having a good supply of fresh water.

3. It is believed Dubrovnik is among ten best preserved medieval walled cities in the world.

4. Dubrovnik was a center of Republic of Dubrovnik (1325-1808) which was independent under protection of Turkish Empire and other stronger entities. With over three hundred ships it had at its peak the third biggest capacity of ships in the world.

5. Motto of the Republic was: “Liberty can’t be sold for all the gold.” Dubrovnik officially abolished slavery in 1416, centuries before Great Britain or USA (both in 19th century).

6. There is a rumor Republic of Dubrovnik was the first state which recognized United States as independent country. This is not true for several reasons including simple fact Republic of Dubrovnik wasn’t real sovereign, but it is true they were probably the first who have sent merchants in New York in 1776 right after the Declaration was signed.

spectacular picture of dubrovnik by night

7. It is on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO from 1979.

8. The Patron Saint of Dubrovnik is Saint Blaise, who supposedly warned the rector of the cathedral in his dreams against the invasion of Venetians. There is a huge feast in his honor in every February.

9. There are 5.423 steps in Old Town of Dubrovnik: 1.080 on the city wall and 4.343 within the perimeter.

10. Considering rich cultural, scientific and political history it should be no surprise to find it as a scene of numerous festivals and other important international events, especially in July and August.

If you search for the Paradise on Earth, you should visit Dubrovnik. (George Bernard Shaw)

 

Vintage paintings as source of inspiration for the next vacation

Do you like vintage paintings of country houses?

I owe my today’s inspiration to Helen Allingham, fine painter who’s specialty were watercolor paintings of old country houses. By old I mean they were already old when she decided to portray them on canvass. Why she did that, apart from the obvious ‘they are so cute’ factor?

Well, the reason is pretty simple. She loved the idyllic countryside of England and she lived in times when everything was changing. (Aren’t we all living in times with too many changes?) So she traveled around and painted houses just before they were demolished by new owners which were new riches from London, looking for escape place from town where they actually earned the chance to leave it. And destroy something beautiful by the way.

Just because these house were old.

Or just because.

Shall we take a look?

01-helen-allingham-photo-portrait 02-in-the-farmhouse-garden 03-the-market-cross 04-the-robin 05-miltons-house 06-the-waller-oak 07-apple-and-pear-blossom 08-the-young-customers 09-the-sand-martins-haunt 10-the-old-mens-gardens 11-the-clothes-line 12-the-convalescent 13-the-goat-carriage 14-the-clothes-basket 15-in-the-hayloft 16-the-rabbit-hutch 17-the-donkey-ride 18-a-witley-lane 19-hindhead-from-witley-common 20-in-witley-village 21-blackdown-from-witley-common 22-the-fish-shop 23-the-childrens-tea 24-the-stile 25-pat-a-cake 26-lessons 27-bubbles 28-on-the-sands 29-drying-clothes 30-her-majestys-post-office 31-the-childrens-maypole 32-spring-on-the-kentish-downs 33-tig-bridge 34-spring-in-the-oakwood 35-the-cuckoo 36-the-old-yew-tree 37-the-hawthorn-valley 38-ox-eye-daisies 39-foxgloves 40-heather-on-crockham-hill 41-on-the-pilgrims-way 42-night-jar-lane 43-cherry-tree-cottage 44-cottage-at-chiddingfold 45-cittage-at-hambledon 46-in-wormley-wood 47-the-elder-bush 48-the-basket-woman 49-cottage-at-shottermill 50-valewood-farm 51-an-old-house-at-west-tarring 52-an-old-buckinghamshire-house 53-the-dukes-cottage 54-the-condemned-cottage 55-on-ide-hill 56-a-cheshire-cottage 57-the-six-bells 58-the-kentish-farmyard 59-study-of-a-rose-bush 60-wallflowers 61-minna 62-a-kentish-garden 63-cutting-cabbages 64-in-asummer-garden 65-by-the-terrace 66-the-south-border-1 67-the-south-border-2 68-study-of-leeks 69-the-apple-orchard 70-the-house 71-the-kitchen-garden 72-the-dairy 73-one-of-lord-tennysons-cottages 74-a-garden-in-october 75-hook-hill-farm 76-at-pound-green 77-a-cottage-at-freshwater-gate 78-a-cabin-at-ballyshannon 79-the-fairy-bridges 80-the-church-of-sta-maria-della-salute 81-a-fruit-stall

 

All these beautiful vintage paintings can be found in the Happy England, book published in 1903 by Adam and Charles Black. The first picture is of course photo of the artist, lady Helen Allingham herself and the last two are paintings from Venice, one of rare, if not the only occasion, when she left her homeland. All other painting are presentations of her country, part of her life which she managed to preserve although nobody asked her to do it. In my previous post I was talking about London, one of the favorite tourist destinations in the world ever. But only with artwork of Helen Allingham we can clearly see how much more has England to offer.

At least is had not so long ago. I bet it still can. And the same story is with all other countries. We really don’t know enough about cute little spots known only to the locals and selected elite.

Imagine to have a chance to have a vacation in one of these scenes. I am not talking about fancy replicas which, I am sure, are still available somewhere, at least to some extend. I am talking about the real thing. Can we do that?

Next set of images is also done by Helen Allingham. The book, where all were published is titled The Homes of Tennyson, publisher is the same, year of first edition 1905. Tennyson from the title is of course one of the most famous poets ever, Alfred Tennyson, first Baron Tennyson, Poet Laureate, who for many years lived and wrote in two locations: Farringford House on the Isle of Wight and Aldworth in West Sussex. Both homes with surroundings and the magic of time were captured by Ms. Helen Allingham and here they are:

01-aldworth 02-tennysons-down 03-the-primrose-path-of-dalliance 04-the-glade 05-gimpse-of-farringford-from-the-upper-lawn 06-farringford 07-freshwater-bay 08-arbour-in-farringford-kitchen-garden 09-in-the-kitchen-garden 10-the-kitchen-garden 11-the-dairy-door 12-farringford-dairy-and-home-farm 13-alsworth-from-blackdown 14-from-the-porch 15-chase-cottage-and-pond 16-the-temple-of-the-winds 17-cottage-at-roundhurst 18-shed-at-roundhurst 19-old-don 20-tennysons-woods-at-blackdown

Well, I prepared another set of beautiful paintings of country houses by Helen Allingham. She was apparently very prolific and in we still have 64 color plates published by Edward Arnold in 1909 to see how England looked one hundred years ago. I am sure, few pieces of this tranquility are still somewhere to be discovered, but it is up to you to discover and enjoy them. My main goal – to prove England has so much more than London to offer – is already achieved …

the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-01 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-02 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-03 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-04 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-05 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-06 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-07 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-08 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-09 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-10 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-11 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-12 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-13 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-14 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-15 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-16 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-17 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-18 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-19 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-20 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-21 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-22 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-23 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-24 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-25 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-26 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-27 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-28 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-29 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-30 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-31 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-32 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-33 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-34 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-35 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-36 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-37 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-38 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-39 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-40 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-41 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-42 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-43 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-44 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-45 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-46 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-47 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-48 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-49 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-50 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-51 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-52 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-53 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-54 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-55 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-56 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-57 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-58 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-59 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-60 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-61 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-62 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-63 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-64

I hope you enjoyed my little trip to vintage countryside. See you soon in new beautiful places!

Pyramids

Pyramids are signature signs of Egypt but we can actually find them everywhere in the world.

pyramids

What mysteries are they hiding?

When I see a pyramid, I can see tremendous project. There have to be hundreds and even thousands of people involved in this kind of work.

I have heard all sorts of theories about pyramids and can’t say how much truth is behind them. Somehow I believe they always carry some mysteries inside. Well, not only inside inside, but sort of stories behind the stories. Think about logistic problems connected with building, getting the material, workforce and, if I hear right, personal tragedies of people who were buried with pharaohs…

Just a mere look at the magnificent structures makes us wonder what are we, as human race, really capable to create. Beautiful, impressive and sometimes pretty spooky stuff!

This image was found on Pixabay. When I got a chance to make some photos of pyramids on my own, I’ll certainly add them here. I hope with my personal story behind them…

Ulm Cathedral

It is still cold outside, so I will present a photo from inside. This building is not an ordinary one. This is photo of one of the towers in Cathedral of Ulm, former tallest building in the world (on the edge from 19th to 20th century). This photo can be found on Pixabay and is made by LoggaWiggler.

Tower of Ulm Minster (Cathedral)

Tower of Ulm Minster

Let’s make things straight. Ulm Cathedral is not really a cathedral. It is Ulm Minster. This means it is a church, but despite its impressive size it has never been a seat of a bishop.

But who cares?

It is a magnificent building, still the tallest church in the world and with more than 160 meters of height with a panoramic platform about 140 metres above the ground it surely offers unforgettable view on city, Alps and Danube. If you manage to visit Ulm and the weather is clear, climb those 768 steps and seize the day!

Don’t forget: Ulm Cathedral (Minster), Germany, Europe…

World is beautiful.