1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Basilicata

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BASILICATA, a territorial division of Italy, now known as the province of Potenza, which formed a part of the ancient Lucania (q.v.). It is bounded N. by the province of Foggia, N E. by those of Bari and Lecce, E. by the Gulf of Taranto (for a distance of 24 m.), S. by the province of Cosenza, and W. by the Mediterranean (for a distance of 10 m. only), and by the provinces of Salerno and Avellino. It has an area of 3845 sq. m. The province is as a whole mountainous, the highest point being the Monte Pollino (7325 ft.) on the boundary of the province of Cosenza, while the Monte Vulture, at the N.W. extremity, is an extinct volcano (4365 ft.). It is traversed by five rivers, the Bradano, Basento, Cavone or Salandrella, Agri and Sinni. The longest, the Bradano, is 104 m. in length; all run S.E. or E. into the Gulf of Taranto. The province is traversed from W. to E. by the railway from Naples to Taranto and Brindisi, which passes through Potenza and reaches at Metaponto the line along the E. coast from Taranto to Reggio di Calabria. A branch line runs N. from Potenza via Melfi to Rocchetta S. Antonio, a junction for Foggia, Gioia del Colle and Avellino (the second of these lines runs through the province of Potenza as far as Palazzo S. Gervasio), while a branch S. from the Naples and Taranto line at Sicignano terminates at Lagonegro, on the W. edge of the province. Communications are rendered difficult by the mountainous character of the interior. The mountains are still to some extent clothed with forests; in places the soil is fertile, especially along the Gulf of Taranto, though here malaria is the cause of inefficient cultivation. Olive-oil is the most important product. The total population of the province was 490,705 in 1901. The chief towns are Potenza (pop. 1901, 16,186), Avigliana (18,313), Matera (17,237), Melfi (14,649), Rionero in Vulture (11,809), Lauria (10,099).