A few kilometres away from the Pollino National Park there is this enchanting hamlet that offers a unique panorama on the valley and a story to tell. It is one of those sad tales which the inhabitants tell while they direct their glance on the ancient castle that today still overlooks Valsinni.
THE VILLAGE, SCENE OF A SAD AND SENTIMENTAL STORY
Here in 1520 Isabella Morra was born; great poetess and woman of extreme emotional sensitivity. The poor wretch was savagely murdered by her brothers, lords of Valsinni at the age of only twenty five years old, because of an alleged clandestine affair with Diego Sandoval de Castro, Spanish poet and baron, lord of the close feud of Bollita and married to baroness Antonia Caracciolo.
The young poetess' death has never been forgotten by people of Valsinni, who established a Literary Park in her honour.
Valsinni is not only this, though. The hamlet is an evocative maze of alleyways and tiny streets, where both the mother-church dedicated to Maria Assunta and Palazzo Mauri with an antique mill inside, stand out. For these reasons Valsinni is one of the towns awarded as Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club, certification that rewards hinterland small towns standing out for excellence and qualitative hospitality.
THREE GOOD REASONS TO VISIT VALSINNI
1. THE LITERARY PARK
If you love poetry and romanticism, then Valsinni is the right place to visit. The Literary Park "Isabella Morra" recalls the sad story of the poetess, thanks to actors with stage costumes and minstrels who recite her poetry, allowing the audience to relive this girl's tragic sequence of events.
This is an authentic dive into the past between poetry, music and genuine flavours. You cannot miss a visit to the castle (guided), to Mauri Palace and to the mother-church, which safeguards a precious wooden crucified Christ, dated back to the XV century.
2. THE MYSTERY OF ISABELLA MORRA
The relationship between Isabella e Diego was probably just an epistolary one: a bond between two sensitive souls finally joined in a brutal world. For this reason, Isabella's story is different from the many of barbarity connected to an obscure sense of honour. It is told that the poetess ghost has never found peace and keeps meandering around the castle walls where she was stabbed to death.
Still to this day, many people claim to have met her, barefoot and wearing a long white dress, while she melancholically admires, from the top, the gorgeous panorama of the valley eulogised in her poetry.
3. THE "PUPARULI CRUSCHI"
Seeing Valsinni does not mean only taking a journey between poetry, culture and mystery. As every other village in Basilicata, this one as well has its own delicious recipes and high quality food.
Prince of the table is the Igp pepper of Senise (town a few kilometres away from Valsinni), which is savoured dried to give life to the traditional "puparuli cruschi": they are sundried crunchy peppers that can be eaten raw or cooked with strascinati (a particular handmade pasta), grated cacioricotta cheese and soft crumbs to create one of the typical dishes of the Lucanian tradition.