The green mountains of Basilicata, Italy: not a bad view during your flight! (Photographer: Charlie Murrell-Edwards)
The Flight of the Angel is an outdoor experience of its kind in Italy. It’s not a bungee jump, it’s not a skydive — it’s a flight. Rigged up between two mountains in the Lucane Dolomites of Basilicata in the south of Italy, you literally fly across the middle. You can fly solo or in a pair. I actually chose to fly with a friend (for moral support!) but a solo flight is probably even more exhilarating. There are stories of people proposing mid-flight, although quite how one would manage to get the words out when travelling at that speed is beyond me!
You wear a hammock-like body harness that is attached by two steel cross-bars to the steel zip-wire that runs between the two mountains. You’re allowed a small bag on the flight, as long as it can be securely attached to the harness/you. I would recommend a small rucksack containing water, tissues, sunglasses, a snack or packed lunch, sun cream, hat, bug spray (if you’re planning to stay into the evening), hand sanitiser, camera, phone, and anything else you consider essential. Wear a long-sleeved top, or take a light cardigan to wear over a t-shirt. You will also need to wear lightweight trousers or leggings, and closed shoes that are comfortable for walking in.
Does this look like your sort of thing? If so, you know where to go! (Photographer: Charlie Murrell-Edwards)
You complete two flights, (the cost cited below is inclusive of both) and you can choose how to do them. You can either fly from Castelmezzano to Pietrapertosa and then return from Pietrapertosa to Castelmezzano (that’s what we did), or start at Pietrapertosa and return from Castelmezzano. I wouldn’t say there’s a particular way you should do it, although there is a pretty hefty uphill walk to the fly-off point in Castelmezzano, so maybe it’s worth getting that out of the way first!
The two towns themselves are very pretty and there are plenty of opportunities to photograph the stunning scenery, as well as little pizzerias, gelaterias and souvenir shops in which to while away your time before/between/after your flights. Sadly we were unable to enjoy the towns as we were on very heavy time constraints and had to get back to Bari to return our hire cars, but the locals are friendly and it would have been nice to linger.
The one thing that makes this excursion a bit tricky is getting to and from it. We hired cars in Bari and drove 2.5 hours each way (as we live in Bari there was really no other way to do it but if you’re staying in Basilicata it probably won’t be such a long drive!), however there are also trains to Potenza and from there you can take a bus/taxi to the destination. The bigger your group, the more you’ll get for your money. We were ten and including the flights, car hire, insurance and petrol, the day came far enough under €100 to leave enough left over for a modest pizza in the evening.
Not an adrenaline junkie? There’s no need to be. I honestly don’t think I will ever complete a bungee jump or a skydive, but if I had the opportunity I would do the Volo dell Angelo again without a moment’s hesitation. In fact, on landing, I was only sad that the experience was so short-lived. I doubt I will ever have another opportunity to feel like an eagle!
Cost: €40 (£31) for a solo flight, €72 (£56) for a pair flight.
Flight duration: Approximately 1½ minutes each way. Booking address: www.volodellangelo.com
2016.07.12 13:45 Tue