The territory of the municipality of Lauria is very extensive and goes from Valle del Noce to Valle del Sinni, across two parks: the National Park of the Lucanian Apennines and the Pollino National Park.
The town still retains its typically medieval layout. Located on the border between Campania and Calabria, it spreads over two hills, dividing into two parts: Upper Lauria, which corresponds to the area of the old Castle and Lower Lauria, which corresponds to the actual village.
The origins of Lauria are quite controversial, as for other municipalities in the Valle del Noce.
According to some sources, the name Uria would appear for the first time in a document dated 1079, written by the Archbishop of Salerno, Alfano. According to more ancient sources, however, it would date back to a Greek-Cretan colony of about the fifteenth century.
The Cretans, attracted by the beauty of the place, would have erected a small town named Iriae, which later became Uria, or “golden city”. Destroyed several times after 406 AD, it was rebuilt in the 12th century by the Basilian monks and then administered by the Sanseverinos and the Borgias.
There are also several theories on the etymology of the name.
There are those who claim that it derives from the presence of the “laurel” plants, which was rich in the area where the Ruggero castle was built. On the other hand, it is assumed that the name derives from the container for the oil that the Byzantines called laurion.
CULTURAL AND ARTISTIC HERITAGE
The religious tradition is very strong, with as reference points two parishes specular to the two districts: the one of S. Nicola di Bari, patron of the upper district (celebrated on May 9) and the one of S. Giacomo Apostolo Maggiore, patron of the lower district (celebrated 25 July).
The artistic and cultural heritage consists mainly of places of faith, guardians of beauty and valuable goods.
In this sense, the Capuchin convent, the Convent of Immacolata and the Santuario dell’Assunta deserve particular attention.
FOOD AND WINE
The best dishes of the delicious local cuisine are gnocchi, known as rascatiddi in local dialect, and tagliatelle with chickpeas and beans, the so-called lagane, served on a rustic table where ancient flavours stand out from ancient recipes that bring back in time.
Homemade pasta is characterized by its callosity, accompanied by the unmistakable aromas of grilled meat and a rich variety of local cheeses and salami.
Among the specialities there are also the gliummariddi, entrails rolls and tripe, usually served with mushrooms or asparagus.
Interesting baked products, such as pizzàtulu, white focaccia or tomato, or picciddàtu, an exquisite donut-shaped Easter cake. And in relation to desserts, stand out the famous and tasty anginetti, small donut-shaped biscuits, prepared with 00 flour, sugar, eggs, yeast and oil and often flavored with anise or fennel seeds. Traditionally they were first boiled and then backed in the oven in order to make them crunchy but almost all modern recipes include baking. Once they are ready and cooled, the biscuits are sprinkled with a glaze made with sugar and lemon. Next to these we find the viscuttini, other glazed biscuits.
AGAIN ABOUT LAURIA
Lauria is the birthplace of the famous Italian actor and director Rocco Papaleo, who shot the film “Basilicata coast to coast” attracting a great attention in the world of cinema. But this location is also known as the home of Blessed Domenico Lentini, the patron saint of the town.
Here the craftsmanship of stone, wrought iron and the wicker manufacture, above all baskets and sieves are widely practised and considered as the flywheel activity of an expertise belonging to the peasant culture, today contemporarily transformed. In this side of Valle del Noce it is possible to find and visit many shops and production sites.
One more interesting activity, aimed mainly at the female public, is the dermocosmetics, based on the production of donkey milk and snail slime, two excellent ingredients for the production of anti-wrinkle creams. Those products started a large market, both for their genuineness and for the care of the method with which they are “collected”, respectful and harmless for environment! Exactly at 960 mt s.l.m. at the foot of Monte Serra la Spina, in fact, inside the Pollino National Park, we find the Fattoria Sagittario, home of a 80 donkeys breeding raised with a semi-loose system, are fed with a forage based on alfalfa, soft wheat, barley and 100% natural cultivated clover, and used for the production of milk mainly intended for pediatric nutrition, as it is very similar to the maternal one, and for 25% to the cosmetic sector. In Seluci, snails are raised whose precious slime is used in order to make the famous beauty creams with a revolutionary formula. In this regard, the line of high quality dermocosmetics Apollinea stands out, made of donkey whey (anti-aging and anti-oxidant for the skin), snail slime (known for its regenerating and repairing properties, collected with patented methods that do not stress in any way the animals) and shea butter (emollient and moisturizing) without water, parabens, petrolatum or silicones. Unique creams in the world, with 96% of active ingredients, sold online in egyptian glass jars, which offer an excellent protection from light and oxidation. In Galdo di Lauria, there is also another interesting reality in perfect harmony with the territory. This is Evra, a company which sell dry plant extracts obtained from typical plants of the Pollino park and cultivated with integrated farming methods a few miles from the environmentally friendly plant, powered by photovoltaic panels and able to recycle the processing waste by transforming it into biomass. These extracts are intended for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries both Italian and foreign. Among the local plants we find rosemary, sage and lemon balm. In addition, a research laboratory was set up on the red aubergine of Rotonda, one of the most prized dop-certified products of Basilicata, with antioxidant, re-mineralizing and restorative properties.
Another small business of Lauria that is worth mentioning is the company Sarubbi, which for over a hundred years produces high-quality coffee and soft drinks, including the famous white soda, and the bitters used in cocktails.