Acerenza, Basilicata. Click for credits and larger picture
Acerenza, Basilicata. Click for credits and larger picture

There are areas of the Italian South which are still developing and which contain more than elsewhere precious elements of our ancient culture. In short, they are like a (living) museum.

Greek Temple of Hera, Metaponto, Basilicata. Click for credits and larger picture
Greek Temple of Hera, Metaponto, Basilicata. Click for credits and larger picture

I found a video on Youtube that illuminates with splendid images many of the things narrated in this blog.

Not only images though, since Francis Ford Coppola comments with inspired words the visuals and tells us about the wonderful Italian Southern region of Basilicata, where his grandparents came from.

Related posts:

On Roman, Italian and Latin Roots. Italy and the New World
Change and Continuity in History. 2

Related blog themes:

The Human Mind is Like a Museum
Folks of the Mediterranean Sea
Survivals of Roman Religion

31 thoughts on “Francis Ford Coppola and his ‘Basilicata Autentica’

  1. Looking at the video, but for the church and the sienna colored houses, you could think that you are looking at a Greek village. Really astonishing…and so different from Rome or Athens. Coppola really made a work of love.


    1. Many of those villages look (and partly are) Greek. As you know Basilicata was part of Magna Grecia, with many Greek ancient towns like Metapontum (where lie the remnants of the temple of Hera), Siris or Heraclea Lucania. Greek dialects are spoken in the South until today.

      I agree Paul, a work of love. This love from so many ‘New World’ people towards their origins, wherever they are – Europe, Asia, Africa etc. – I find very romantic.


    1. Welcome then! Sicily, with its more complex history, is surprising as for variety and extreme beauty, but Basilicata – also called Lucania – is less known and more intact.


  2. I remember watching this video… and thinking how ignorant I had been not knowing nearly half of the things Coppola mentiones about his native land Basilicata.

    Since then I have been to Matera twice and other fabulous nearby locations, tasted the awesome food and felt its Greek roots enveloping me whole.

    Thank you for this, a view not commonly available to many.

    Ciao professo’


    1. Ciao,

      Grazie for visiting my home again. I forgot to mention that this movie, presented at the Maratea film festival this summer, was directed by Michele Russo who utilized the voice of Coppola to narrate the beauties of Basilicata.

      Un caro saluto


    1. Hi Louis,
      Welcome to my blog. And now of course I’m curious to know what do you think is wrong about Godfather III. I had a look at your nice blog. I enjoyed the ‘Girl of Ipanema’ post and links. Are you from Brazil or from the USA?



      1. Thank you and nice to meet you. I’ve been visiting your blog, and I quite enjoy it. I always walk away from it feeling enlightened. And I can always use a little enlightenment.

        Regarding Godfather III, I knew deep in my heart that Coppola would not be able to recapture the beauty and strength of Godfather I and Godfather II. Yet I stubbornly carried high hopes and high expectations that he would create another capolavoro.

        I was bitterly disappointed. Everything from the storylines to the script to the performances to the film’s signature line – “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in” – was a big disappointment. So much in fact, that I remember cheering when the aged Michael Corleone died and fell off his chair. It’s been almost 20 years since I saw that movie.

        Thank you for the kind words regarding my blog and the “Girl From Ipanema”. I’m originally from the U.S., but recently moved to Brazil in December.

        I’m happy to see you posting again.

        Con i miei migliori saluti.


        1. You seem to be of Italian origin. I understand what you mean. Godfather III is not comparable to I and II.

          Living in Brazil must be a big leap, but the place could be well worth it.

          Ti invio i miei migliori auguri per questa tua avventura.


  3. Si, io ho le radici campaniesi della mia nonna(Avellino) e dei miei bisnonni (Sala Consilina). Benché non parli bene la lingua, io ho ancora un legame profondo con la mia ascendenza.

    Ed era attraverso questa bella lingua che ho incontrato la mia moglie brasiliana. Adesso mi trovo in Brasile, imparando entrambi il portuguese ed il italiano..ouf.

    Molte grazie degli auguri, Uomo di Roma. É veramente una gran avventura.


    1. Io sono italiano, nato e vissuto a Roma. Portoghese e italiano sono simili, praticamente dialetti del latino popolare. Impararli insieme sarà facile se già conosci un poco la lingua dei tuoi avi. Ti auguro di nuovo ogni bene a te e a tua moglie.



      1. Ce blog constitue une merveilleuse expérience multiculturelle. Io molto amo. Please keep it up Man of Roma. This in and of itself is an accomplishment.


        1. Il me fait plaisir que ce blog te plaise, mais n’exagérons pas trop cher Paul 🙂

          Although I agree, keeping up a blog for a long time is an accomplishment in itself. I’ll try my best.

          You also, Paul, pls don’t give up. I think we both have to relax and plunge into the pleasure of writing, whenever we feel like it.

          Grazie poly!


  4. I’ve been getting involved with the Italian cultural center revival in Montreal and I’ve noticed a renewed interest in young people in wanting to reconnect or at least learn more about their Italian roots.

    I mention this because I’ve observed it seems to be taking place with entertainers/celebrities as well. Bruce Springsteen, for example, has publicly discussed his mother’s Italian heritage in recent years. And there are many more like him. Hollywood and the arts as a whole has its fair share of Italians.

    So it’s not an “age” thing in as much as a “timing” issue.

    It’s as if there’s a North American “awakening” and it’s not just with Italians. It’s as if they get amnesia and suddenly awake yearning to learn more about their ancestors. Maybe it’s tribal or something.


    1. Italian cultural center revival in Montreal …I’ve noticed a renewed interest in young people in wanting to reconnect or at least learn more about their Italian roots.

      It seems recent then. Maybe Italy – despite our prime Minister’s defects – is today perceived as appealing, something to be proud of – we are a G8 country, we have Ferrari and good cuisine etc. Soon after the Second World War Italy was perhaps something people kind of preferred to forget, hard to say.

      It’s as if they get amnesia and suddenly awake yearning to learn more about their ancestors. Maybe it’s tribal or something.

      Tribal … a New World cultural identity can’t be endangered by the rediscovery of one’s ancestors’ culture, in my opinion. Plus retrieving our roots is natural in every person, since it enriches our psyche. I am a Roman, but some of my ancestors came from the alpine region. It is important to me psychologically. I’ve travelled the Alps in search of these roots.


  5. My goodness, I might have a shot with my memoir now. You do know that I grew up in Venosa, in the province of Potenza. My entire family, my father had eight brothers and one sister, now scattered all over the world, comes from Venosa. When I last visited it in 2002 it still had the same traditions, the same rituals. Time had stood still; good for nostalgia, not so good for progress.

    Thanks for discovering Coppola’s film.


    1. I didn’t know you were from Basilicata, a pleasant surprise. Basilicata is such a beautiful place.
      Progress … sometimes I am asking myself: what do we need all this progress for.


  6. This was an absolutely fantastic video – for lucani like myself (Savoia di Lucania), but most importantly all the people who haven’t yet discovered the beauty of this region! I met with the minister of tourism for the region, and I couldn’t believe how on-the-move the region is. complimenti!


    1. I welcome to my blog Peter! I am happy to have readers from the New World of Italian descent. I have said it many times here, it is moving to me.

      I too have the impression that Lucania is on-the-move, like other parts of the South (Puglia for example.) We’ll see what happens when the recession is over.

      And your ItalyMONDO initiative is great. I recommend it to my readers.



      1. Thank you, “Uomo di Roma!” haha. I recently pushed a few viewers to your site – and would love to highlight you soon in our “Spotlight” section. Ci sentiamo nel futuro.


  7. @ Man of Roma

    I would like to say it was a really wonderful video.. ( note the word used here is wonderful and not awesome,or cool for that matter which indicates not only good but also dignified.)

    FYI I have updated my blog with my favourite short story taken from Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375 ), an Italian poet and Author from his book The Decameron (Vol. 2, Day 5, Novel 9).

    I thought you would like it!


    1. Thank you Falcon. I’ll jump to your blog and see your post on Boccaccio. You didn’t provide the url, this time. But I have it on my browser. Ciao


  8. Thank you for a lovely post. I have just discovered your site, and I know I will return often.

    My grandfather, Gaetano Crocetti emigrated to the U.S. from Montesilvano in Abruzzo in the early twentieth century, and I am most gratified to see that the younger members of our family are developing an interest in their heritage.

    I have mixed feelings about the transformation Coppola’s hotel will bring to Bernalda. However, it will no doubt be good for the economy and the many people it will employ. And so it goes.


    1. Ciao AdriBarr, welcome here and thank you!

      My bond with the people of Italian origin living in the New World is getting stronger and stronger because of blogging and also for the type of activity I am doing after my retirement, which allows me to meet many of them.

      Recently I have been to Canada where I met some of the people participating in this old discussion. Many ideas (and feelings) were exchanged.

      As I have said, it is always moving to see the emotional force of a heritage.

      I didn’t know that Coppola had built an hotel in Bernalda. I’ll have a look at that. It could be good or bad.

      I hope we will talk again, here or over at your blog, which seems of a very high quality.

      A presto allora.



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