If you wonder what it’s like to fly with the angels, you can find out in Basilicata’s high-wire zip line called il Volo dell’Angelo (lit. the flight of the angel). The open-air thrill ride is located in the Dolomiti Lucane, strung between two picturesque mountain towns, Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, where the jagged peaks kept the villages isolated on their respective crests across a deep ravine until after WWII.
These towns literally and figuratively joined together in 2006 to open the Volo dell’Angelo‘s 4000-feet long cables spanning a 1200 feet deep gorge. The ride launches you at 120 km per hour over gorgeous scenery in one breathtaking minute of invigorating free-flight sensation.
When a group of family came to visit we hyped ourselves up into strapping ourselves in and flying. Five of us bought our tickets in Castelmezzano and hopped on the shuttle that would take us part of the way up the mountain. From there, we hiked about two kilometers over rough terrain up to the launch point. We decided in what order we would fly and suited up. The staff hooks you onto the line and with only an “arrivederci” as warning, launches you off towards Pietrapertosa.
The first seconds are numbing, then the open views and exhilaration give you an incredible rush. The arrival is a bit of a surprise the first time, a quick jerk at the station and you’re stopped.
We arrived one by one, the adrenaline making us giddy. We strolled through Pietrapertosa, got refreshments and then walked up to the old Arab quarter and the ruins of the castle to the launch site for our return flights. We could have stayed for lunch, but the less adventurous in the group were waiting for us back in Castelmezzano.
Going back was even more thrilling, now that we knew what to expect. The flight was more tranquil and we could see sheep grazing far below, birds flying not far above, and the folds of the landscape… while enjoying the incredible sensation of flying. It is over in one breathtaking minute, yet somehow it seems longer.
Back on the ground, our group hugged and hooted and laughed, a perfect outing to enjoy these family moments together in the beautiful scenery of Basilicata.