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A village to live, a journey to discover Moliterno.

Thursday 11 january 2018

In the heart of the Val d'Agri, in Basilicata, anyone who wants to come to Moliterno will never be a guest but one of us and will experience unique emotions in a landscape of extraordinary beauty, rich in traditions, culture, history, art and food and wine.

A village to live, a journey to discover Moliterno.

From its 847 m s.l.m. for centuries Moliterno dominates the valley that takes its name from the river Agri, a river that flows entirely in Basilicata. It is the second in the region for length after the Basento with 136 km of course, and for basin width after the Bradano, but the first for wealth of waters.

The Valle dell'Agri is an iridescent territory, where impressive mountains descending towards the valley give way to rolling hills, in turn alternated with fertile plains, fields and woods with intense shades.

Moliterno Castle

Cradle of tradition and culture, the town immersed in the green Lucanian Apennines, in every corner hides pieces of history; from the medieval castle, declared "Monument of national interest" with traces of the multiple dominations suffered is currently undergoing restoration, to the village with its narrow streets lined with ancient buildings and numerous churches and chapels. Of notable interest is the Church of the Rosary whose original structure dates back to 1510, enlarged in 1616 the Dominican church has three naves with frescoed vaults. The Mother Church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, was built between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and over the centuries has been the subject of various enlargement and rebuilding works.

Church of the Rosary

Of notable beauty is the Franciscan Church of Santa Croce which dates back to 1613. In it you can admire wooden altars from the Baroque period, a famous "Deposition from the Cross" depicted on canvas by the painter of Satriano di Lucania (PZ), Giovanni Di Gregorio, called the Pietrafesa of 1631 and a wooden crucifix of exquisite workmanship, probably dating back to the period preceding the Baroque.

The village that has recently become part of the National Network of Authentic Villages, in the past has given birth to important celebrities, writers, politicians, generals, painters and high priests. It boasts among its illustrious fellow citizens Ferdinando Petruccelli della Gattina (1815 - 1890), doctor, historian, scholar, precursor of modern journalism; the General Giuseppe Parisi (1757 - 1829) founder of the Military Academy of the Nunziatella of Naples; Giacomo Racioppi (1827 - 1908) historiographer of international fame; Michele Tedesco (1834 - 1917) famous painter who took part and taught in the Florentine School.

Chiesa di Santa Croce e Municipio

Since ancient times, Moliterno is famous for its highly prized cheese, the Canestrato di Moliterno I.G.P. A pecorino of remarkable quality celebrated in August with a festival and a market exhibition. The fame enjoyed by Canestrato di Moliterno is due, in addition to the quality of the raw material (milk, 75% sheep and 25% goat) and the processing mode, to the organoleptic characteristics conferred to this extraordinary cheese during the aging process which takes place in the traditional "Fòndaci", underground or basement rooms, in which are found particular microclimatic conditions that favor the seasoning of the canestrato, characterizing it in a unique way.

In the period from July to September we produce the "Casieddu", a fresh goat cheese. When the sheep go in "dry" and you can not produce the pecorino we dedicate ourselves to the production of this other delicious cheese whose delicate and aromatic taste is due to the fact that the milk, already filtered through the leaves of fern before being curd is flavored with an herb called "nepita" (nepitella). The "Casieddu" pasta is processed into small spheres which, if sold fresh, are wrapped in fern leaves, held together by a string of broom leaves.

Moliterno, a town in the province of Potenza, from which it is 80 km. is a locality within the Lucano Val d'Agri Lagonegrese National Park, whose surrounding territory has a remarkable variety of flora and fauna.

About 5 km. from the inhabited center, on the mountainous ridge that separates the Val D 'Agri from the Vallo di Diano is located a small protected area with an extension of about 350 hectares of forest, the natural oasis Bosco Faggeto recognized Site of Community Interest (SIC) that in every season of the year attracts and enchants visitors.

Moliterno (PZ): l'oasi naturale Bosco Faggeto, riconosciuta Sito di interesse Comunitario (SIC).

In addition to the beech, the oasis houses several tree species: oak, maple, lime tree, etc. etc. Approximately 800 floristic species have been recorded, of which 10% are rare, among which countless orchids of enchanting beauty stand out. The rich faunistic heritage consists of the wild boar, the fox, the hare, the badger, etc. etc. In addition, several species of birds nest, including the owl, the eagle owl, the red kite, the woodpecker, etc. etc.

Moliterno (PZ): MAM Palazzo Aiello 1786 insieme ad altri 5 musei fa parte del MAM (Musei Aiello Moliterno).

The already rich artistic and cultural heritage present in the municipal area has been added for some months a new reality certainly unique for a country of about 4000 inhabitants, the museum system MAM (Museums Aiello Moliterno), consisting of six museums, six cultural containers, each represented by a specific theme. The "Palazzo Aiello 1786" Museum dedicated to the landscape of the early nineteenth century to the second half of the twentieth century Italian; the "Casa Domenico Aiello" Museum houses real masterpieces of art by the great nineteenth-century Lucan painters (Michele Tedesco, Vincenzo Marinelli, Giacomo Di Chirico); the "Via Rosario Contemporanea" Museum houses a permanent collection of contemporary art, artists of international standing; the Museum of the "Novecento Lucano" welcomes the great names of Lucan painters (Luigi Guerricchio, Mauro Masi, Gaetano Pompa) with a space dedicated to two "Lucanians of adoption", Carlo Levi and Josè Ortega; the Museum of the "Ceramica del 900" in which are mainly housed works of the so-called German period of Vietri ceramics, with particular attention to the great artists-craftsmen starting from Guido Gambone and the Brothers Procida; finally, the "Biblioteca Lucana Angela Aiello" houses a collection of books and prints on Basilicata that goes from the seventeenth to the twentieth century and the texts of the greatest Lucan writers. It also houses spaces dedicated to the Maps Room and to the Grand Tour, with a rare collection of books and prints.

Museo Civico d'Arte Sacra

Remaining in terms of museums, do not forget the "Civic Museum of Sacred Art" owned by the city, which displays some of the most representative artistic artefacts of the local culture, coming from the different churches of Moliterno.

Another flagship of the community is the Biblioteta Comunale "Giacomo Racioppi". It has a live background of about 20,000 volumes and a good endowment of ancient texts. It was founded as a library in October 1885 with a City Council resolution inside the building where the Municipality is located, following the donation of the private library of the historian Giacomo Racioppi. From April 2004 the current headquarters are represented by the ancient Palazzo Valinoti, in the central Piazza Vittorio Veneto, in front of the Town Hall.

The Moliternese culinary tradition is very varied and rich in dishes, they do nothing but enhance the local products: cheese, mushrooms, different types of meat (pork, lamb, sheep)

Among the first courses in absolute must be remembered the "Maccaruni o 'firricieddi" (Maccheroni with the ferretto); homemade pasta that tradition has it that they are always present on the tables of the Moliternesi on Sunday lunch. These are fusilli made strictly by hand with the aid of a ferretto (made from recycle from the "sticks" of an old umbrella), the length of cm. 20 approximately that the housewife moliternese jealously preserves.

Fresh pasta is one of the key foods of Lucanian gastronomy. This pasta is prepared early in the morning, because you have to give it the right amount of time that it can dry out to be ready for cooking, usually on the "spasa", a traditional wicker, hand-woven shelf, usually in a circular shape / or oval. After that the housewife Moliternese is dedicated to the preparation of the local sauce, consisting mainly of pork and veal, sausage and / or pork sausage, with cooking that must be strictly slow and that will serve to season the dish of Sunday.

The version of this dish is represented only by fusilli but the same can also be combined with "cauzuni" giving life to another typical dish: "Maccaruni o 'firricieddi and cauzuni". This second type of pasta, also homemade, is represented by ravioli stuffed with ricotta usually salty but there are also those who prefer sweets, so in this case the stuffing is replaced by sugar. The sauce used will always be that of the meat sauce.

Remaining with hands in dough, another first course of homemade pasta is represented by the "trisciddi", open dumplings made by hand and seasoned with the traditional meat sauce.

Always among the first courses, a good plate of pasta and beans can not miss on the tables of the Moliternesi, especially in winter. These legumes are represented by the Fagioli di Sarconi I.G.P. a village not far from Moliterno, less than 5 km. The night before going to sleep, the housewife puts near the fireplace where there is only the embers of a whole day, a pot with water inside, beans and a couple of pork rinds. The next morning the home environment will be so inebriated with a scent such as to entice you to have breakfast with a plate of beans.

But it can not be said that this can not happen, and we can not even talk about a real pasta and bean dish served for breakfast, but rather the traditional "pane m'bussu e fasuli", that is a stale bread soup, beans and cooking water of the same with the addition of a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Among the second courses of particular importance are the lamb with potatoes, goat alla lucana, pork sausage grilled and stewed snails.

Moliterno (PZ): night view

Looking over the village of Moliterno you can go to discover villages that dot the Lucanian landscape and that represent an extraordinary reservoir of identity, traditions and quality productions. Sarconi, where the agricultural tradition finds an important reference point in the production of the renowned Fagiolo di Sarconi I.G.P. with its about twenty ecotypes. Grumento Nova and its link with the Archaeological Park of the ancient "Grumentum" which dates back to the III century BC, an ancient and flourishing city that even resisted the assault of Hannibal, with the annexed National Museum of the Upper Val d'Agri. Montemurro, already inhabited in pre-Roman times, is the town that gave birth to the poet-engineer Leonardo Sinisgalli who for his versatility has been called "a Leonardo of the twentieth century" as he was a storyteller, publicist, editor of magazines, documentarist, radio author, draftsman. An obligatory stop once you reach the village is represented by the visit of the "Casa delle Muse" and the "Scuola del Graffito". In the territory of the country a fine variety of oil is produced.


Not far from Montemurro, we find Spinoso, a small hillside village surrounded by woods of oaks and chestnuts. It is a natural belvedere on the Lago di Pietra del Pertusillo. The streets of the village are rich in buildings from the 1700s and 1800s with stone portals.

On a rocky hill and overlooking the fertile Valle dell'Agri, Tramutola stands out, a small town that hides its true name of place, rich in springs and fountains, in its name "terra imbevuta d'acqua". To maintain the bridge between the past and present in Tramutola is the ancient stone citizen wash-house, "Ngap l'acqua" (Head water), still used today by the women of the village to wash the laundry, bordered by a fountain in stone and an old mill, the latter now in disuse.

Along the western ridge of the upper Val d'Agri, in the western part of the province of Potenza at an altitude of 1027 m s.l.m. we find Viggiano, known for its long tradition linked to popular music and in particular, to the construction of harps. It was in the centuries the place of origin of many itinerant players who exported their music and their traditions all over the world, financially helping their country of origin, and many of them had the opportunity of military in international symphony orchestras. As a religious center it houses the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna which is one of the most important centers of spirituality and Marian faith in Southern Italy.

Marsicovetere, perched on a hill like all the surrounding villages is composed of the historic center and Villa d'Agri and Barricelle, which are instead in a relatively flat area. Marsico Nuovo, is spread over three hills that dominate the Val d'Agri: Civita, the highest with the historic center, Portello and Casale, lower, with modern expansion. The naturalistic complex "Fontana delle Brecce - Piana del Lago" consists of an environmental section of considerable naturalistic value, characterized by the presence of fine beech and turkey woods, which cover a soil rich in springs and streams of a seasonal nature. It is an area affected by a tourist-recreational settlement, thanks to the presence of a mountain shelter that acts as a receptive point, in terms of hospitality and catering, and information for the use of the surrounding area and the many connected activities that are possible to play. The territory of Paterno has all the colors and nuances of the verdant nature of the Agri Valley. In the food and wine tradition of Paterno it is particularly common the production of dairy products arriving on the tables of the entire Basilicata region are produced within local companies with strictly local milk, among these is the podolico caciocavallo.

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