Pietrapertosa: A Timeless Journey through Italy’s Medieval Mountain Town

Located in Basilicata, Italy, the town of Pietrapertosa is a medieval town built on the rocks of the Dolomites mountains. The town has a small population, just a little more than 1,000, but it is a beautiful place nonetheless. Pietrapertosa has managed to protect its medieval identity while being able to attract the people of the modern world.


The most unique aspect of Pietrapertosa is that it is completely on top of a rock. The town has found itself a place on many lists of the most beautiful villages in Italy and the world. The origins of the town date back to the 8th century BC when Pelasgians found the rock and settled on it.

Joelle Dewael

Pietrapertosa is famous for its narrow streets and alleys. The houses in the town mix with the rocks of the mountain. The rocks often serve as the walls of houses or the limit between areas. Even some of the steps in the town are carved out of the rock.

Today, one of the most popular attractions of the town is its zipline. Pietrapertosa has the longest and highest set of ziplines in the world. The town offers an experience that many describe as almost flying in the air. The line begins from the converging point of the mountain towns and takes the visitors to the mountain peak.

While today the town enjoys the cool and calm atmosphere of the mountains, Pietrapertosa has seen many conflicts. Starting from the 11th century, the town has been home to different groups from different nations.


The most popular structure in the town is the district of Arabata and the castle in it. The district is the legacy of a Muslim group in exile from centuries ago. Furthermore, historical sources state that their leader was a Byzantine named Luke who became a Muslim and looked for a place to settle.

Rui Barbosa Batista

The castle is on top the the town in a place where everything is visible. Therefore, this gave the group an opportunity to see threats long before they could get close. Aside from its tactical advantage, the castle has a beautiful view. The mountains, forests, waterfalls, valleys, and the night sky are all perfectly visible from the castle.


Moreover, although the town was later home to many different groups, Pietrapetrosa still celebrates the Muslim and Arabic influence every August. In addition to wearing traditional dresses, the townspeople offer various types of food to visitors at the festival, Sulle Tracce Degli Arabi, meaning In the Footsteps of the Arab.


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