My Bella Basilicata

28 August 2013

Volo dell'Angelo

Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano
If you have ever wondered what it is like to be a guided missile and soar over a steep gorge at 80 mph, then you will not want to miss the Volo dell’Angelo (Flight of the Angels). The open-air thrill ride is located in the Dolomiti Lucane in Basilicata at roughly 3600 feet above sea level, strung between two picturesque mountain towns:  Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.   The panorama of the majestic mountains and the surrounding country makes this a location worth visiting in its own right.

These two towns have literally and figuratively joined together in 2006 to open the Volo dell’Angelo zip line.  It is doubtful you will find this type of high-wire act anywhere else. Two 4000-feet long high-tension cables are strung across a 1200 feet deep gorge.  This is a two person ride, so you and a friend can get strapped on for an adrenalin rush as you zip across the canyon head-first from one town to the other. Be forewarned: unless you have another friend waiting for you on the other side, this is a round-trip ticket!

For many, the initial launch will be the scariest part, as the ground rushes by below, but you will quickly be out over the gorge where this sensation is replaced by the feeling of unrestrained flight. The stop at the downhill end is a little abrupt, but not enough to cause any discomfort. This is certainly an experience recommended for any thrill-seekers venturing to beautiful Basilicata.

If you are ready to fly with the angels, there are a couple warnings: the entire process is not fully explained on the website or by the local staff, and, as you will find in much of Basilicata, they don’t speak much English.

The two cables, called Linea San Martino and Linea Paschiere, are located a good distance from each other and there is a navetta (shuttle) that will take you only part of the way between the two launch points. From there you must hike almost two more kilometers to the launch point to return to Pietrapertosa, an almost 150-meters change in elevation (part on a dirt trail). On a hot summer day this is no easy task. The launch point in Pietrapertosa also requires a short but steep climb up from the town. The flights last only minutes but the entire adventure will require at least an hour.

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