Basilicata. Flight of the angel – unknown gem of southern Italy

There were two towns Castelmezzano and Piterapertosa spaced from each other little more than a kilometer and separated by a deep ravine of Dolomiti Lucane. Innovative and enterprising residents, one day put steel wire rope over a precipice and through it created the possibility of „flying” between towns. Today, everyone can fly, and experience incredible mixture of fear, excitement and delight of the landscape beauty. See one of the greatest experiences in the history of our Italian trip – Volo dell’Angelo, located in Basilicata, which is one and a half kilometer rope stretched 400 meters above the precipice and being traveled at a speed of 120 km/h. News coverage with Angel Flight, along with the film from the camera mounted on a helmet!

Beautiful, but cold morning of 1 September 2013. woke us up on a farm „Grotta dell’Eremita” in Dolimiti Lucane in the Province of Potenza, which we reached the previous day just before midnight, after an evening adventure in Naples. A small, clean room and simple but tasty breakfastcompound with coffee and hot croissants straight from the oven may not be uncommon, but for our purposes it was sufficient. Paying more than 60 euros per night for a double room with breakfast at the place where we wanted to spend a sudden eight hours would be unwise. Agriturismo itself is a cozy hotel situated in a desolate place, served by very sympathetic Mirco. In the evening you can enjoy a meal in the hotel restaurant – pizzeria, which we unfortunately did not use, because once it was too late, and two – not being able to eat pizza in Naples we ate sfogliatelle at a gas station near Salerno. As I mentioned to you earlier in this journey I took with me from Poland sore throat, which was sometimes intensified. Upon arrival at the agriturismo dreamed of a hot cup of tea, but in the room there was no kettle. Mirco brought us from the restaurant cups and a kettle of boiling water (a packet of green tea always we take with us). The only drawback of this place is for me too weak mute rooms, in fact total lack of it. Unfortunately, I slept badly because of the noises coming from the outside, as well as tiring me cough. In the morning I woke up with rings under my eyes and a swollen face.

I must add one more thing agriturismo Grotta dell’Eremita is located in the mountains – even though the day was with beautiful weather and high temperatures, the morning was cold, without long pants and a sweater would be not nice.

Getting to Castelmezzano (picture at the beginning of the post), the quaint town beautifully situated inthe middle of  steep rocks took us 10 minutes. After we park our car for free on the road in front of the barrier blocking the entrance to the center we went to the ticket office. Flight of angel is reserved beforehand stating the date, time and preference -single fly or double (more on that later) on the website (link and prices at the end of the post), but when you arrive you must pay and receive confirmation in the office located on the main street of the historic center, about half of its length. Walk through the town is unforgettable, indeed you will see it in a moment.

castelmezzano-z-bliska

I will attempt to show you what exactly’s going on in Flight of the angel. Probably some of you fligh of the angel is associated with a known feature of the Venetian carnival that has the same name, but the attraction of the „city on the water” is nothing compared to the adrenaline offered by theDolomiti Lucane. Between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa straight-line distance is just over a kilometer, but to cross the road between the towns you must drive over 10 km! Due to necessity of driving into a deep ravine, and then tailboard uphill. This amazing location was used to create attractions for unconventional tourism, because most of the people visiting this place is limited only to look at daredevils rushing down across the abyss with a depth up to 400m. Between the towns hung two steel cables. The first line is called Peschiera, length of 1,550m, on which starts from Castelmezzano with a height of 1,019 m above sea level and arrives to Pietrapertosa on the height of 888 m above sea level, which overcomes a height difference equal to 131m. Maximum speed achieved on this line is 120 km/h and it depends on body weight. The condition for admission to the flight weight is not less than 35kg but not exceeding 120kg, moreover, person must be over 16 years for the flight yourself, or 12 years for a flight in tandem with an adult. Dual flight means two people buckled in separate harnesses, but pinned to a trolley. The total maximum weight in the case of dual flight is 150kg.

The second line is the San Martino with a length of 1,378m, on which starts from Pietrapertosa at 1020m above sea level and ends flight in Castelmezzano at an altitude of 859m above the sea level overcoming the elevation of 161m. According to the leaflet included with the ticket, from which I got these numbers, the maximum speed is also 120 km/h, but on the website of Volo dell’Angelo I’ ve read that it’s only 110 km/h. Ah, the Italians! I not surprise it at all 🙂

mapa-castelmezzano-pietrapertosa

Route selection of the first flight was due to the fact that we had to Castelmezzano simply closer. Was it a good decision? You can judge yourself 🙂 After receiving our ticket we went back to where we parked the car. From there approx. every half an hour shuttle bus drove away delinquents over town, since no flights take off from centro storico, but the rocks visible above the buildings. Minibus reached the point where the road ended and dropped us off at the charming church. From there began the arduous climb to a high rock. I don’t know exactly what the amount still had to overcome, but it was approx. 100 m height difference. Beautiful views reward the hardships of climbing, but then slowly I began to be afraid of what was about to happen. Fear fueled me this view.

lot anioła

On top of the rock is a start point, Pietrapertosa is visible from here as some roofs bit to the right near pointed rock. Scarcely from this perspective, I realized in which I take part. Finally came the moment when I stood at the top right next to the bridge, where flight began – as then I thought – just crazy bloggers willing to make in their pants out of fear, just to write an interesting article for their readers. I looked along the line, watching like they let a guy and how he goes down. Then I announced to all and sundry no way, I do not fly. Arthur, of course, did not share my concerns, after all, he likes such attractions. I also liked it once, higher and faster, was equal to more fun once, when I was six years child after slid upside down from high on several floors winding slide located in aquapark near beach and I had really fun. But those days passed, I became cowardly hag just before thirty, and despite the great desire to experience awesome adventure, unfortunately, I wanted to run away from this dreadful rock as soon as possible. Of course, Arthur rebuked me and says:

– So…? You not share your readers that you’ve done your pants and run away?

– Yes, will be a shame – I thought. – Ok, But (despite to purchased solo flights) they have to let us go together, otherwise I’ll go back to town by foot.

Arthur went to talk down, when he comes back, says:

– There is no such possibility, they brought us here with two single harnesses, you have to go alone.

They began to call me, and next to me few people waiting for their turn. Only die once – I thought – I’ll manage with it somehow. I went to the bridge, the service began to wear me, and sore throat – probably silenced by inside coward – somehow ceased to hurt. Apogee occurred when they knocked me over a horizontal position and looking up I saw the exact flight path. Stress at that time was larger than before the exam for a driver’s license or diploma defense in Poznan University of Technology. But it wasn’t over yet. Pale with fright, I heard the question about my weight. Well, I’ve never been the thin pole, but to fit in size 40 (no, not Italian one, but rather English) I had to always watch myself what I eat, so my parents made me like this and I cannot change it. But since I founded my blog swap spending every free moment on a bike or nordic walking to sitting in front of the computer, that’s why my arse has grown. Untill I noticed, to Castelmezzano arrived barely stuck in a jeans size no. 42.

So polite guy asking about my weight, and I answer with squeaky voice, hoping that no one else hears. The guy unfortunately can not hear, so he asks again: how much ??? Again I say, little louder, but not too loud. Whew, he heard something. Put radio close to his mouth and yells to the service in Pietrapertosa: woman, ** kilos! Corner of my eye I wathed very slim Italians girls disbelieving their ears and their guys with curiously watching my big arse quite different from those Italian, such tiny running with heels on the Roman pavement and red as a beetroot on my cheeks I think, mamma mia! Let me go… please…. as soon as possible!

The security released and rigid with fear I’m beginning to pick up speed quickly. The beginning is dramatic. The worst is the feeling that I have no idea how much I accelerate, and in addition earthmoving away regularly now suddenly gives way to a deep abyss. The views breathtaking, but the adrenaline does not allow me to fully enjoy the beauty of the area. After about half of the flight, I discover that it will not be worse, and surprisingly I start to relax and enjoy, that did not fool of myself. Joy did not last long, I see the box designed to slow down an angel, and I recall how landing looks like.

An Angel with high speed flows into box, the rope is blocked and an angel is making quick hop forward, then backward. As it turned out the landing just looksscary, in fact, there is nothing to fear (I am writing this, coward, trust me). Great, succeeded, I’mstill alive, it will be something to write about on the blog, quickly go to the shed to give back harness, because Arthur immediately flies with a camera on a helmet, I want to see it.

In fact, minute or so later my husband arrives, unbuckled him and we both go to the „command center”, where nice gentleman say: great, do you want to buy a photos? Photos, that photoes? The guy clicks on comp and shows us photos taken continually while approaching for landing. Arthur happy with a smile on his face, and I … well, with such expression I could successfully apply to Camorra. What an embarrassing, now I know, flying back I’ll make a Hollywood smile for beautiful souvenir. Only later it turns out, that the photos are made only in one direction 🙂

natalia-volo

I invite you to see less than a 10-minute film of our flight. Together with the video this time we decided to post pictures so that’s the best way to show you this adventure. First, see photos agriturismo, then the panorama of Castelmezzano and ravine on film, photos of Castelmezzano from short a walk to the ticket office, climbing the rock, departure of unknown couple from Castelmezzano and movie recorded by GoPro type camera mounted to the Arthur’s helmet. second part of the movie is flight back from Piertapertosa, as well as the arrival of Arthur to Castelmezzano filmed by me from the ground.

 

At the end I will add that the flight from Pietrapertosa is, according to both of us, much more light and easy. Firstly, speed feeling is lower, second, the earth does not escape so suddenly. Toanyone who wants to go, but is like me afraid, I recommend first start from Pietrapertosa. You’ll see that it was not so bad, you will experience the first landing, thus flying in the other direction will be able to more relaxed to enjoy the views, and you will set a beautiful smile for the photos 🙂

Additional information:

  • single return flight cost in September 2013. 40 euros / person;
  • double return flight (two people fastened together) cost 72 euros, total mass of flying may not exceed 150kg;
  • the cost of a single image purchased from the service is 3 euros, staff made two images, one from a distance, the second one is close look;
  • note! Flights are held only in the summer, but only in August  – every day, in other months are selected days. In each case, check the calendar on the website;
  • website Volo dell’Angelo.

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Natalia

The copyright to the text belong to Italia by Natalia. Copy text or fragment, as well as rewriting with the change of the individual words in accordance with the blog regulations will result in law – financial consequence to the thief and also with stigmatization on the internet.

 

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