IN THE HEART OF THE IONIAN COAST
A few steps from the golden Blue Flag beaches of Metaponto, stands Bernalda with its old town centre on a steep plateau towards the sea and from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of nearby Metaponto and the Basento valley.
HISTORY AND WHAT TO SEE
Bernalda rises long after its nearby Metaponto and Policoro, only around 1497, on the ruins of the ancient city of Camarda, an agglomeration of houses to which the population of Metaponto moved, around the end of the 3rd century B.C. following the destruction suffered by the Romans. Bernalda was founded by Baron Bernardino de Bernaudo, secretary of King Alfonso II of Aragon, who decided to move the village of Camarda to the castle area. After the unification of Italy and the end of the banditry, Bernalda undergoes a phase of depopulation, but in time it will repopulate until the present day when it has become an important historical destination to visit in Basilicata.
The Mother Church of San Bernardino da Siena built on the homonymous square in 1530 by Baron Bernardino de Bernaudo, is characterized by terracotta bricks and Byzantine domes, inside the various pictorial and decorative elements tell the four centuries of history of this church.
Also worth a visit is the Church of Carmine, which houses a large wooden crucifix of the seventeenth century and the Church of the Convent of St. Anthony of Padua, which contains the nineteenth-century crucifix representing a Jesus Christ full of pathos. Continuing the walk along Corso Umberto I, we arrive at Piazza Plebiscito, a garden square whose perspective guides are enhanced by nineteenth-century noble palaces, historical residences of the local bourgeoisie. Well known has become Palazzo Margherita, recently purchased by the Italian-American director Francis Ford Coppola, who has transformed the structure into a 5 Star Resort.
WHAT TO EAT
If you arrive in Bernalda you cannot ignore the citrus scent of the orchards that characterize the area.
Fresh fruit and vegetables colour and characterise this small village of Lucania. Other typical products are the lambascioni in oil or the "gnumm'ruìdd", rolls of liver or lung entrails: they cannot be missed on the table of those who love strong flavours, accompanied by a glass of wine.
FLORA AND FAUNA
If you arrive in the Metapontina coast, you cannot miss an itinerary in contact with nature in the Metaponto Reserve, a protected natural area established in 1972. Also known as Bosco di Metaponto, the reserve occupies 240 hectares along the Ionian coast of Lucania, between the mouths of the rivers Bradano and Basento.
Among cypresses, eucalyptus and domestic pines, it is possible to admire the migration of storks and flamingos or the beautiful earmarked grey herons. When you reach the sea, with a bit of luck, the protected species of sea turtle "Caretta Caretta" can be spotted.
To respect these species and the uncontaminated nature of these places, the entrance to the nature reserve is allowed only on foot or by bike. It is possible to book guided tours with the volunteers of the CEA environmental centre.
The nearest coast is the Ionian Coast and the beautiful sea Blue Flag 2020 of Metaponto, reachable in 8 minutes by car from Borgo San Gaetano, and the beaches of Marina di Pisticci, Scanzano, Policoro, until the not far away Nova Siri (30 minutes by car).