Italy, South Italy, Southern Italy, Basilicata, Castlemezzano, Castelmezzano, Castelmezzano Italy, Southern Italy road trip, South Italy road trip, Italy road trip

A Quick Guide To Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa, Italy

Updated March 2024, A Quick Guide To Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa, Italy was originally published in April 2020

Nestled in the jagged Dolomiti Lucane peaks in the Potenza Province of Southern Italy’s little-visited Basilicata Region sit the beautiful side-by-side village of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.

While most foreign tourists seem to cluster around, throwing elbows for the perfect shot at the famous sites in Rome, Venice, Florence, and Cinque Terre, my true attraction to Italy lie in its southern regions of Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily.

Maybe it’s that my genetics tie me to the south of Italy, or that the culture and food make me think of my childhood and the people I grew up around. But Castelmazzano goes beyond my southern comforts- it’s also scenically speaking, the most beautiful village I’ve stumbled upon in Italy. Located at roughly 900 meters above sea level in a range of eroded karst peaks, Castelmezzano also feeds into my love for wild mountain sceneries.

Planning to hit the road? Check out my Southern Italy Road Trip Itinerary

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The History Of Castelmezzano

Despite being a pretty off-beat place in Italy, Castelmezzano has been around for eons. The origins of the village date back to the 6th century BC during some of the first waves of colonization in Southern Italy. Hellenic people began colonizing the Basento Valley and eventually founded a village called Maudoro.

By the 10th century, the population of Maudoro was forced to flee into the mountains during the Saracen (Arab invasions) of Southern Italy. Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa were the locations selected for the new village site because of their steep and jagged peaks from which the inhabitants could roll boulders down onto any attempted invaders.

Centuries later Castelmezzano would go on to be occupied by the Lombards, the Normans, and the Aragonese between the 11th and 16th centuries. By the 1800s, Southern Italy lacked any form of formal or effective government, so bandits had the rule of the land.

During this time of Brigandage in Southern Italy the wealthy class would hire young men to retrieve stolen property and negotiate with the thieves- typically a pardon in exchange for the stolen items or goods. This period is largely thought of as the origins of the Mafia. This was the regular lay of the land in Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, Campania, and Abruzzo.

During this time much of the then population of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa emigrated outside of Italy altogether, as the area was largely affected by the Brigandage of Southern Italy as it made for great hiding spots for bandits thanks to the rocks and vegetation.

Check out 20 off the beaten path destinations in Italy

Castelmezzano, Potenza, Basilicata, Southern Italy, Italy

Things To Do In Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa

Hiking Around Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa

There are numerous treks in the area surrounding Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, some that even continue on into the Basento Valley and connect to other areas of Gallipoli-Cognato National Park. has many of the trails marked on the app, or check out this website for some trekking routes in the Basilicata region including Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa (the Basilicata section is only in Italian, but you can use Google Translate to decipher the information.

Santa Maria dell’Olmo Church

The Romanesque facade of Santa Maria dell’Olmo Church is worth a visit as you make your way around Castelmezzano. The church also features a 14th century wooden statue of Madonna with child.

Santa Maria dell’Olmo is located in the heart of Castelmezzano in Piazze Emilio Caizzo. Just a short walk away the Madonna dell’Annunziata Chapel is also worth a visit.

Exploring Campania too? Make sure and visit the Amalfi Coast

Castrum Medianum

Following the occupation of Castelmezzano by the Lombards, the Normans would come next, building the Castrum Medianum (meaning the middle castle) to guard the area between Pietrapertosa and Brindisi Montagna. You can visit a portion of the Castrum Medianum, which offers amazing views of the surrounding areas.

Il Vollo Dell’Angelo (The Flight Of The Angel)

Adventure junkies can rejoice- you can take a zipline between Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano on the Il Vollo Dell’Angelo (translating out to The Flight of The Angel). Click here to visit the official website and to purchase tickets.

Planning to explore more of Basilicata? Don’t miss the ancient cave city of Matera

Castello Saraceno

On your visit to Pietrapertosa, a visit to the Castello Saraceno (also called Castello di Pietrapertosa) located in the Old Quarter, is worth a visit to explore its crumbling ruins and views of the landscapes all around. The castle dates back to the 11th century.

Madre di San Giacomo Church

Madre di San Giacomo Church sits right in the heart of Pietrapertosa. The church is noted for its 14-16th century frescos.

Caperrino Valley

Following sheep trails, stone steps and bridges down from Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa will allow for you to hike down and explore the Caperrino Valley below.

Starting your journey from Naples? Check out my Naples Travel Guide

Pietrapertosa, Potenza, Basilicata, Southern Italy, Italy

Where To Stay In Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa



La Panoramica B&B | |


Dimore dell’Olmo | |


Borgo dell’Angelo | |



L’Arabatana B&B | |

La Via Di Fugo | |

Basilicata Map
Click map to view on Google Maps

How To Get To Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa

From the E45 highway that connects Naples and San Villa San Giovanni and continues onward to Messina, Sicily, you’ll take the E 847 exit toward Sicignano, Potenza, and Matera. From the E 847, you’ll eventually take exit Albano toward Albano and Castelmezzano. From here you’ll take Santa Croce Camastra and then Via S. Croce to Castelmezzano.

Have Any Questions About Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa?

Ask in the comments section below.

14 thoughts on “A Quick Guide To Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa, Italy”

  1. Hi, we are visiting Matera in Jan 2025, considering a day trip or overnight to Castellomezzano, I understand it will be cold be we enjoy winter landscapes. Will the Zipline be running?
    Are you aware of any public transport from matera?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Bruce,
      I don’t believe the zipline will be running in winter, but you may want to contact them via their Facebook page just to ask.

      In terms of public transport I am unaware of anything between Matera and Castelmezzano directly. You may be able to piece together something via Campomaggiore or Potenza possibly but I don’t have solid information on this. You may want to check on the Sita Sud website to get an idea of buses in Basilicata.

      The easiest way to do this trip though (in a day) would be to rent a car in Matera for the day or negotiate a taxi for the day.

  2. Hello Nicole! Thank you for this post and all your blog. I’m visiting Pietrapertosa with my mother this September, she’s really excited she’s visiting her great-grandparent’s hometown. We will be staying in Potenza and we plan to go on a day-trip to Pietrapertosa. I’m wondering what is the best way to get there. Should we rent a car? Is the road safe for driving? Or is there a public bus line that conects Potenza with Pietrapertosa? I can’t find much information online… I would really appreciate your comments. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Juana,
      I’d say the easiest would be to rent a car (that’s what we did). I don’t recall the roads being too crazy, though the last bit arriving into Castelmezzano were a little windy and narrow but I didn’t think too bad.

      SITA Sud is the bus company that services Basilicata region. Castelmezzano seems to be serviced when searching on there (I do recall seeing bus stops there ) but nothing pops up for Pietrapertosa, so if going by bus plan to get dropped in Castelmezzano and walk to Pietrapertosa.

      You can find there schedule here:

      You can also check out their site here:

      The website is in Italian only, so you may find it helpful to use Google Translate when checking it out.

  3. Hey Nicole: I am visiting Castelmezzano in July with my wife and two kids (ages 5 and 2.5). Is there anything you would recommend we can do with them in the area? Any playgrounds in town?

  4. Hi Nicole,
    Thank you for the article. I have this on our list to visit in September. Would we need two full days here? … zipline, hike, eat, sleep… 🙂


    1. Hi Kevin, I think one day is very doable but will be a busy day. 2 days would allow you to slow things down a bit and have a more relaxed visit.

  5. do you have any information on the walk/hike between the 2 villages?
    is it easy, or difficult? distance? the drive around between the villages looks long.

    thanks in advance

    1. The trek between the two villages is a little under 4 km each way (7.5 km as a loop) and I’d say easy to moderate in difficulty for most people. I didn’t map it myself, but I did find a track on All Trails.

      1. Dear Nicole,
        Is it easy to navigate on the terrain of this trail. As I check it via google maps combined with alltrails, I don’t really see a trail, even at the highest resolution…Thanks a lot in advance!

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