Origin of the name "Lucania"

Consistent immigration of populations from Anatolia, the so-called lyki, who settled in the valley of the Basento river around 1200 BC, give the first hypothesis of the origin of the name later given to the region.

Another legend reports the name of Lucania to the Osco-Sabellian population of the Lucani, led by the mythical Lucus, barbarians from central Italy who settled in an area that goes from the current Paestum in Campania and passing from Maratea to the mouth of the Lao river in Calabria. and extended up to the Ionian Sea (the so-called Great Lucania, see below).
All this around the fourth / fifth century BC.

Basilicata & surrounding

 I was born in Basilicata. Yes, Basilicata exists. It's a bit like the concept of God, do you believe it or you don't believe it. I believe in Basilicata. I saw her!
( Rocco Papaleo, Basilicata Coast to Coast )
"Basilicata, nice discovery!" is the lucky slogan of a recent tourism promotion campaign in the Lucanian area which aims precisely to make the beauties and secrets of this region known to the world.

Usually, we think about Coast to Coast trips that cross the United States, like the famous Route 66, spanning nearly 4,000 kilometers from Chicago to Santa Monica. And then there's the whole story of "cammini" or walking paths, like the one in Santiago or even the "via Francigena" here in Italy. However, perhaps we don't realize that we can tackle fantastic routes that cut straight through our country from East to West and vice versa. These are itineraries suitable for everyone, even for beginners and they don't necessarily have to be completed on foot. We're talking, of course, about the route "invented" by Rocco Papaleo with his perhaps most famous film about Basilicata. Here you'll find a proposed itinerary to connect the Tyrrhenian coast to the Ionian coast through the most interesting places to visit. A Basilicata Coast to Coast for an alternative vacation and to get to know the Lucanian territory.

La Terra della Luce

On the other hand, there are those who believe that the name derives from lucus which means wood or better the clearing inside a wood from which the light can be glimpsed; according to other historians from the Greek Likos, meaning wolf, from the vast presence of these animals in the immense woods of the region.

A last suggestive hypothesis takes up the legend that wants that a people of Samnites headed south, arrived in a land from which the sun could be seen rising, therefore "land of light" that is Lucania.

In 1200 A.D. for the first time the name Basilicata appeared, from the Greek Basilikos, a term with which the Byzantine rulers of the region were called.

The current administrative borders were defined by Napoleon in 1806, creating the province of Basilicata with the capital Potenza.

After the brief parenthesis with the restoration of the name Lucania during the Fascist period, with the Republic the Region returned to being called Basilicata, giving rise to the only case of a Region in Italy, and perhaps in the world ,   whose name of the inhabitants does not derive directly from the toponym of the Region: in fact the residents in Basilicata are called Lucanians.


In the current coat of arms of Basilicata the four great rivers that cross it are represented:

Bradano, Basento, Sinni, Agri is managed by
AltriTurismi ets Association
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