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For many years, a great number of Italy's remote borghi (historic villages) have suffered from a constant decline in population, as their young people move away to find work and better  prospects. These villages are usually in spectacular natural surroundings and have beautiful old churches and monumental buildings. However, many of the borghi are now fighting back by introducing incentives for foreigners to buy property, with the obligation to restore it, as well as cultural initiatives to promote tourism.

The Vulture are (Lucania, Basilicata) has been elected Italian Capital of Environmental Tourism for the four days, with a special permit for the public to visit the Nature Reserve of Grotticelle on the 17 March 2019.

It will also be a perfect opportunity for visitors to tour the nearby borghi of Muro Lucano, Montemilone, Bella, Oppido Lucano, San Fele and Irsina, all small, charming medieval towns off the normal tourist circuits. Irsina, surrounded by the Valley Bradano, has been especially successful in attracting a new international population, with 70 foreign families from North Europe, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA who have bought property in the town and restructured it with the intention of living permanently or having a holiday home. Local culture has been given an injection with the creation of a residence for artists, created by Maori artist Joseph Rickit.

However, Muro Lucano (population reduced to just over 5,000 inhabitants) is not lagging behind. With its spectacular rocky scenery, its Archaeological Museum, the Castle where Joan I of Naples died and its Nature Park of Mt. Paratiello, it is a candidate to be included in the list of “Places of the Heart” voted every year by the Italian Foundation for the Environment (FAI).

Oppido Lucano highlights its ancient transhumance route with a “Song Route” of itinerant performances. It also possesses rare archaeological treasures, such as “the Tabula Bantina” in the ancient language of the Osca people, as well as a Festival of Architecture, while San Fele has a magnificent waterfall, last year visited by 5,000 people.

Lastly, Bella has boosted its population by taking in a large number of asylum-seeking immigrants, who have integrated without problems with the local population.


Info: Guida Ambientale Escursionistica 

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15 Mar 2019