When in Rome, do as the romans do. From religious rites to civil celebrations, from traditional gatherings to seasonal festivals, there is no event that does not aim – often successfully – to serve as a bonding agent for the community, involving both Italian and foreign tourists who come to visit the villages and cities that make our country wonderful.The Metaponto area, which includes charming locations on the border between Calabria and Basilicata, is characterised not only by its dreamlike natural landscapes – villages nestled between mountains and sea – but also by the cultural, religious, and social activities that enliven these fascinating locations almost all year round. What are the most characteristic celebrations of the villages on the Ionian coast? Let’s discover them together.

Oriolo and Policoro: Between Art and Religion

What could a village in Alto Ionio Cosentino have in common with a Metapontino municipality that has become an unwilling natural film set? Simple: a wide range of events related to art and Christianity that will entice even the most demanding tourist to linger in unique villages like Oriolo and Policoro, encouraging them to stay in such peculiar places several times throughout the year.Policoro is much loved by tourists from all over the world for its splendid sea and is recognisable for appearing on the big and small screen countless times. The Lucanian municipality of almost 18,000 inhabitants shines with a sacred light, especially in May, during the religious celebration followed by civil festivities of the Madonna del Ponte, usually honoured on the third weekend of the fifth month of the year. Additionally, there are top-notch musical events held during the summer, attracting a large portion of music enthusiasts, such as Policoro in Swing, a regular event in August.The Calabrian village of Oriolo celebrates its patron saint, San Giorgio, with a procession in the tradition of the sixteenth century, featuring a procession through the village streets, where the statue of the saint is escorted by guards and bagpipe players (the so-called “sunacchiari”). The procession is led by the “Palio player,” a devotee who performs pirouettes with a 4-metre-high pole. Another important religious celebration is that of San Francesco di Paola. The climax of the patron saint’s festivities, which take place on 24 April, is the kissing of the relic after it has been displayed to the faithful.

Nova Siri: A Walk of Faith

Another gem of the Lucanian region, Nova Siri is characterised by its crystal-clear beaches, monuments scattered throughout the village, and its mild climate. This climate allows locals and tourists to participate in the traditional Cammino della Madonna Nera, a mystical journey that intertwines religious worship with unspoiled nature, leading participants to the historic Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, located more than 1700 metres above sea level.

Ode to Gastronomy: Montegiordano and Roseto Capo Spulico

There are no traditional events that do not feature a leading product of the Italian food and wine tradition. The small villages of the Metapontino area in Calabria, Montegiordano and Roseto Capo Spulico, are no exception, known mainly for festivals and events dedicated to two precious products generated and given by our “Mother Earth.” April is a favourable month for fans of delicious legumes. On 20 and 21 April, the countryside of Montegiordano turns green, the colour of tender peas and fresh, crunchy fava beans. The Peas and Fava Beans Festival has been a regular event for over a decade, attracting agricultural product enthusiasts and curious visitors to a full-fledged show, where the classic tasting of these extraordinary products is followed by music, street performances, and exhibitions dedicated to legumes, the undisputed stars of the event.While green is the “official” colour of Montegiordano, Roseto Capo Spulico shows all its passion “dressed in red” thanks to Ciliegiando, the flagship event of the village in Alto Ionio Cosentino, which takes place between May and June and aims to introduce (and taste) the “Most Beautiful Cherry in Italy.” A celebration of the fruit of love that coincides with another important occasion, the Festival of Early Fruits, alternating moments of tasting with sales opportunities, without forgetting the fascinating historical parade and the visit to the famous cherry orchards of the Cosentino municipality.