Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are two hilltop towns in Basilicata, Italy. Both of them are beautiful to visit and fun to explore. But what makes them even more exciting is the fact that you can get from one to the other on a zipline.
In fact, one of the best things to do in Castelmezzano is to zipline to Pietrapertosa and then zipline back to Castelmezzano. We have been ziplining numerous times around the world and this is a good one! This zipline, also called Volo dell’Angelo (the Angel’s Flight), is one of southern Italy’s most thrilling experiences.
In this guide, we’ll let you know what there is to do in Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, how to do the zipline, and the practical information you need to know to plan your visit.
Get ready to explore two of Italy’s most beautiful villages.
Overview of Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa
Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are two small towns that sit side-by-side in Basilicata, Italy. Also in Basilicata is the very photogenic town of Matera, which is just over an hour away by car.
These towns are located in the Lucanian Dolomites, a mountainous region in Basilicata. These spires form a ridge and both Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are located along this ridge. These spires are a popular spot to climb via ferratas.
Both towns are very small and you don’t need much time in either one of them. You can walk from one end of town to the other, in both Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, in about 20 minutes.
However, if you want to add on Volo dell’Angelo (the zipline), your visit will take most of the day.
Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa can be visited on a day trip from Matera or you can visit these two towns on a road trip across southern Italy. We visited Castelmezzano on a southern Italy road trip, driving here from Matera, spending the day in Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, and then driving to the Amalfi Coast the following morning.
How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (places to go and the zipline stations). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Best Things to Do in Castelmezzano
Volo dell’Angelo (the Angel’s Flight)
The best thing to do in Castelmezzano is to zipline to Pietrapertosa. We cover this in its own section a little later in this guide, or you can skip ahead now.
Piazza Emilio Caizzo
Piazza Emilio Caizzo is the main square in Castelmezzano. From Terrazza Panoramica, you get the iconic view of Castelmezzano with its colorful buildings and backdrop of Dolomite spires.
Piazza Emilio Caizzo
The view from Terrazza Panoramica
The Mother Church of Santa Maria dell’Olmo
This church sits on Piazza Emilio Caizzo. Inside are several painted canvases that date back to the 17th century and a wooden sculpture from the 14th century that depicts Madonna with Child, also called “Madonna dell’Olmo.”
Mother Church of Santa Maria dell’Olmo
Take a Stroll through Castelmezzano
Two narrow, hilly streets wind their way through the heart of Castelmezzano, Via Roma and Via Guglielmo Marconi. They form a loop and pass small cafes, shops, and houses. It’s a quick, scenic, hilly walk.
Street signs in Castelmezzano
Gradinata Normanna, also called the Norman Stairway, is a series of 54 steps carved into the rock of one of the tallest Dolomite spires in Castelmezzano. This was once a lookout post of the castle Castrum Medianum.
The only way to climb these steps is on the via ferrata located here. There is a locked gate that prevents people from climbing the steps on their own. If this is something you would like to do, you can take a guided tour with the same company that runs the Volo dell’Angelo zipline.
Visiting Gradinata Normanna is worth it, even if you don’t plan to do the via ferrata. There are two viewpoints here with beautiful views of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.
To get here, it is an uphill walk on narrow, hilly streets from the east end of town (follow signs to Fortezza Normanna and walk up Via Domenica Volini).
You will arrive at a wide terrace, shown in the photo below.
To continue up to Gradinata Normanna, continue up the metal staircases. From here, you get a great view of the tiny steps on Gradinata Normanna and a view over Castelmezzano.
The view from the terrace next to Gradinata Normanna
There is a second viewpoint that is not to be missed. From the wide terrace, there is a set of steps that lead down a short distance and out to some rocks. From here, you can look across the valley to Pietrapertosa and watch the zipliners on the Angel’s Flight.
In this photo you can see the zipline and if you look closely, someone on the zipline flight. This gives you an idea just how high the zipline wire is.
The view looking towards Pietrapertosa from this same viewpoint.
In addition to Gradinata Normanna, there are other via ferrata routes in and around Castelmezzano. Visit the Volo dell’Angelo website for more information.
Scenic Walk on Via Paschiere
For more views over Castelmezzano, go for a walk along Via Paschiere. This road runs through the hills above Castelmezzano, past homes and a church (Cappella Santa Maria Regina Coeli).
It is a hilly walk to get up here, but once you are finished, it’s a downhill walk back into town.
Here are photos of the views you get from the walk.
Overlooking Castelmezzano with Pietrapertosa in the distance.
Cappella Santa Maria Regina Coeli
Worth it? It’s a nice walk with great views. It takes about 45-minutes to an hour, so if you are short on time, it’s probably not worth it. It’s better to put your time into the zipline than this walk, if you had to choose between the two.
To do this, we walked up to Via Paschiere from Via Domenica Volini. There is a small street that connects these two roads that does not show up on Google Maps.
Where to Eat in Castelmezzano
Trattoria al Vecchio Scarpone. We had lunch here and it was amazing. This family run restaurant serves traditional local foods, along with wine, beer, and coffee.
Lunch at Trattoria al Vecchio Scarpone
Peperusko. For food or drinks with a view, put Peperusko on your list. This small restaurant has a few outdoor tables with a view of Castelmezzano.
The view from Peperusko
Al Becco della Civetta. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves great food with a great view of Castelmezzano. We did not eat here because our timing did not work out, but it gets fabulous reviews. You can see the menu here.
Best Things to Do in Pietrapertosa
Castello Normanno – Svevo di Pietrapertosa
This castle sits on the highest point of Pietrapertosa. The main reason for visiting the castle is for panoramic views.
You will walk up to the highest point in town and then walk up a very steep path to the castle entrance. There is a small fee to enter and then from the castle you get panoramic views of the area.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you plan to do the Angel’s Flight, you will have limited time in town. You will not have enough time to visit the castle. I was able to get up to the entrance into the castle and take a few photos, but did not have time to pay my fee, enter the castle, and see the view. If this is something you want to do, you will have to return here after the Angel’s Flight, or extend your time in Pietrapertosa when you make your zipline reservations.
For us, it was not worth returning to Pietrapertosa after the zipline. The views from the zipline are incredible and it was not worth the hassle to drive to Pietrapertosa, park, and visit the castle for a slightly different view.
Chiesa Madre di San Giacomo Maggiore
This church contains frescoes and paintings from the 1600’s and 1700’s as well as an underground crypt. You will see the church from the outside while walking through Pietrapertosa (if you are doing the Angel’s Flight). If you want to go inside, you will have to return to Pietrapertosa after the zipline (or extend your time in Pietrapertosa).
Volo dell’Angelo (the Angel’s Flight)
Volo dell’Angelo is a series of two ziplines connecting Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. The entire experience takes about 2 hours, which includes the two flights, three rides on a shuttle, and a walk through Pietrapertosa. You can book the flights with more time in between, which gives you more time in Pietrapertosa. We’ll get more into that shortly.
You can start and end the zipline in either town. We started and ended in Castelmezzano, which is the more popular way to do this.
Here is an overview of the entire experience.
Before starting the zipline, you will have to check-in at the office. They will weigh you and anything you plan to bring with you and make sure you are wearing proper shoes and clothing. They will tell you your number in kilograms. Remember this number because you will need it both times you zipline.
Note: On their website, they state you must be wearing a T-shirt, not a tank top. If you are not wearing the proper clothing, you will not be allowed to zipline.
In Castelmezzano, you will board a small shuttle van at the intersections of Via S. Croce, Via Michele Volini, and SP13. It is a 5-minute shuttle ride uphill to a drop off point, high in the hills above Castelmezzano (not far from the scenic walk along Via Paschiere mentioned earlier in this guide).
From this drop off point, you will walk about 1 km on a paved path to the first zipline station. This walk does have some steep hills and takes about 20 minutes. This is the most strenuous part of the experience.
View of the last part of the walk to the zipline station, which is on top of the hill in this photo.
Zipline station for the Castelmezzano to Pietrapertosa flight
Zipline to Pietrapertosa
At the end of the walk, you reach the first zipline station. You will be outfitted with a helmet and ziplining gear. This zipline is done “superman style,” so you will wear a harness with an apron.
You can zipline solo or as a couple.
If you have a small bag, that will be attached to your back (just make sure it can zipper shut, if not, don’t bring it along). I had a small purse that was attached to my back during the zipline.
Many helmets are equipped with a GoPro attachment, so if you have a GoPro, be sure to bring it. This flight is incredible!
From Castelmezzano, you will zipline across the valley to Pietrapertosa. This line is called the “Peschiera” line, it is 1,452 meters long, and you will reach a top speed of 120 km/hour.
It’s a thrilling flight, as you soar over the Dolomite spires and then watch as they drop away and fly over the valley below.
The view from the zipline station, showing the arrival station and Pietrapertosa. You will ride a shuttle to get from the arrival station to Pietrapertosa.
Tim on the zipline.
Julie on the zipline.
A view of the zipline between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa
The Pietrapertosa arrival station
The arrival point on the opposite side of the valley is just outside of Pietrapertosa. You will wait here while the rest of your group finishes their zipline. You can also purchase the photos taken during your flight. When we did this, photos were only taken on this zipline flight, not the one from Pietrapertosa to Castelmezzano. Then you will all board another shuttle for a 5-minute ride into Pietrapertosa.
The view looking towards Castelmezzano from the shuttle stop next to the zipline station.
We had about 15-minutes in Pietrapertosa before we needed to be at the second zipline station. This gave me barely enough time to walk up to the gates of the Normann Castle to take a few photos.
Walking through Pietrapertosa
Follow signs for Volo dell’Angelo
The view from the entrance into Castello Normanno
The Pietrapertosa zipline station
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you want more time in Pietrapertosa, you can book your return zipline flight to Castelmezzano later in the day. We did the typical out-and-back flights which only gave us a little bit of time in Pietrapertosa. For us, that was fine, but if you think you would like more time here, adding on an additional hour would give you enough time to visit Castle Normann and not feel like you are in a race.
Return to Castelmezzano
From Pietrapertosa, you will zipline to Castelmezzano superman style. This line is called the “San Martino” line, it is just over 1,400 meters long, and you will reach a top speed of 110 km/hour. It’s another thrilling flight and enjoy those views of Castelmezzano…it’s better than any other viewpoint in and around town.
The view of Castelmezzano from the shuttle stop.
From this zipline station, you will board one final shuttle that will take you back to Castelmezzano.
When we did this, it took 2 hours, from 11 am to 1 pm. We booked our tickets the same day, but we were here in mid-October, which is the off season. We recommend booking your tickets online in advance to get the time slots you want.
For more information, including pricing, hours, rules, and regulations, and to make your reservation, visit the official website.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: You can also do this in the opposite order, starting and ending in Pietrapertosa.
The Seven Stones Path
The Seven Stones Path is a 2 km hiking trail that connects Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. This hike takes you through the valley and gets its name from a love story between a witch and a man. There are seven chapters of this story along this walk are told with stone sculptures.
On this walk, you will descend down into valley and then back up again, so it is a hilly walk. On average, it takes 1.5 to 2 hours one-way.
How to Get to Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa
The best way to get to Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa is by car. Public transportation in this part of Italy is not as prevalent as in other places in Italy.
Here are driving distances and times from nearby destinations:
- Potenza: 40 km, 45 minutes
- Matera: 80 km, 1.25 hours
- Bari: 150 km, 2 hours
- Naples: 190 km, 2.5 hours
- Salerno: 135 km, 1.75 hours
- Rome: 400 km, 4.5 hours
How Much Time Do You Need in Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa
For the best experience, plan on spending one day in Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. This gives you enough time for the Angel’s Flight zipline, to explore both towns, and have lunch and/or dinner. You can do this on a day trip from Matera or on a road trip through southern Italy.
WHAT WE DID: In the early morning, we drove from Matera to Castelmezzano. We spent the entire day in Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. We slept in a small B&B just outside of Castelmezzano. On the following day, we drove to Paestum and then along the Amalfi Coast to Positano. Our visit was in mid-October.
Where to Stay
La Casa Nel Verde. This is where we stayed and we chose it because it was the highest rated property on Booking.com during our visit. We had the apartment with mountain view, so we had a small kitchen and plenty of space. Our apartment was spotless, quiet, and very comfortable. It is a 5-minute drive from Castelmezzano.
La Gradinata B&B. This B&B also gets exceptional reviews. It is located on Via Roma, in Castelmezzano, so it has a great location if you prefer to stay in town. Rooms can accommodate two people and breakfast is included.
Casa delle Stelle. Rent a whole house and have a beautiful view of Castelmezzano. This one bedroom home has a kitchen and a balcony with a stunning view of Castelmezzano. It is beautiful inside, with stone walls and skylights in the ceiling.
Things to Do Near Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa
Visit Matera. Matera is a little over an hour away by car and is not to be missed on a trip to southern Italy. This is one of the most picturesque towns in Italy and a delight to explore.
Puglia. Puglia is the heel of Italy. This is where you will find Alberobello with its conical huts, Polignano a Mare (a gorgeous coastal town), Lecce, the Gargano Peninsula, and numerous coastal towns.
The Amalfi Coast. Castelmezzano is less than a 2-hour drive from Salerno, the eastern gateway into the Amalfi Coast. These are too far apart to do a day trip to one or the other, but they can be combined on a road trip through this part of Italy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Castelmezzano famous?
Castelmezzano is known as being one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. With its location in the Lucanian Dolomites, it is also a top spot for via ferratas and to do the Angel’s Flight, a zipline that runs between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.
Is Castelmezzano worth it?
This small, picturesque town is a hidden gem in Italy. Stroll the narrow streets, zipline to the neighboring town of Pietrapertosa, climb a via ferrata, and dine on traditional foods. If you are planning a trip to southern Italy, Castelmezzano is well worth it and just may be one of your favorite places to visit in southern Italy.
How much time do you need in Castelmezzano?
Ideally, plan on spending one day in Castelmezzano, in order to explore the town, zipline to and from Pietrapertosa on Volo dell’Angelo, and dine on local foods.
If you have any questions about things to do in Castelmezzano or Pietrapertosa, or if you have questions about the Angel’s Flight, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
PUGLIA: Read about 15 beautiful places to visit in Puglia and the best things to do in Alberobello. We also have a guide to the best things to do on the Gargano Peninsula and how to spend one day in Vieste.
AMALFI COAST: Find out the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast and what it is really like to drive the Amalfi Coast. Learn about the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast, how to hike the Path of the Gods, and things to do in Ravello and Positano.
BEST OF ITALY: In our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.
ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary, where to eat in our Rome Restaurant Guide, how to visit the Colosseum, and where to stay in our Rome Hotel Guide. And don’t miss our guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Rome.
ITALY ITINERARY: On this 10 day southern Italy itinerary, visit the Amalfi Coast, Castelmezzano, Matera, Alberobello, and more towns in Puglia.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.
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