You are currently viewing Pisticci badlands (Pisticci calanchi) – an unique place in Basilicata.

Pisticci badlands (Pisticci calanchi) – an unique place in Basilicata.


After visiting Craco (you can read about it here) we went to see the gullies in the Aliano area. It takes around 20 min by car, of course, we used the GPS. If you want to go there, choose a sunny/dry day. When is raining/after rain it will be hard or even impossible to see this weird and beautiful place.

What is Pisticci badlands (calanchi).

The gullies are nothing but large mountains of clay soil without vegetation And because it’s clay, the formation is very interesting as it is changing more or less after each strong rain/wind.

Pisticci badlands (calanchi).


Each mountain has a very specific shape, which depends on the state of erosion. The mountains/hills are clay-raw/yellowish, dry, and cracked what looks really unusual, a bit like a lunar territory.

Pisticci badlands looks a bit lunar.

Can you walk through the clay hills?

Yup. There are trodden paths to follow to discover the best views. You can get to the top of the clay mountains/hills however I would suggest being very careful.

The hills are of various heights.


First of all, the mountains are bare, rarely anything grows there, so there is nothing to pick on. Some hills are steep, so you have to slide down on your buttocks. Clay crumbles and holes are made in the mountains; some of them are really deep as the hills are empty inside. In addition, it is difficult to tell where the layer of clay is hard and where it is thin and can collapse under our weight.
So if you decide to go hiking in the mountains, be really careful.

Holes in the hills.


You can also stay on the lower levels, from where you also have a beautiful panoramic view of the landscape. Some of the hills at the beginning of the gullies were besieged by a group of photographers, so I guess the foothills are safe, and besides, the hills are not that high there.

We went further and higher, where there were no people at all, but there were a lot of holes in the hills.

I really like this unusual formation. I climbed high on the hills, but seeing a large number of holes, I did not feel too confident. So I went back to the lower level, sat down on one of the hills, admiring the surroundings and enjoying the sunset, which was stunning over this unusual natural formation.


What else is going on here?

Pisticci chalanci is a place where events are organized, such as Teatro dei Calanchi. The festival lasts for 4 days in August. All kinds of art, outdoor and nature-related events take place 24 hours a day, such as music shows at dawn or joint trips to clay mountains.

Lovely landscape of badlands.
Lovely landscape of badlands.


This unusual place has been popular among filmmakers for years. The picturesque clay hills and mountains seem to be an ideal place to shoot scenes for feature films, short films, music videos, etc.


For those not interested in festivals, the vastness of the telen allows for motocross, horseback riding,walking, mountain bike tours, and so on.


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