about me

My name is Sandra Langston, and I live near the small town of Bernalda in Basilicata, in the south of Italy.  After living in Austin, Texas for my formative years, I came here in 1981 with a group of people who were touring Europe to see many sites so important to the history of art, and I enjoyed it so much I decided to come back.   I abandoned graduate school and found a job as an artist with the University of Texas, working on an ongoing archaeological dig at Pantanello, an experimental farm which lies atop thousands of years of strata attesting to human activities over the ages.  I met my future husband within a week of my arrival, and continued to return for longer and longer periods of time until we finally married and set up house.  Both of my children were born here, and they carry on the tradition of living in two places simultaneously, both physically and emotionally.  Although I no longer do archaeological work here, I fell into my career as a painter at last when I found this landscape and a life with less distraction.   I love puttering out  here in the country, traveling, leading my life both here and in the United States.  I consider myself to be blessed in many ways.


“Verso Craco”  oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, 2008


15 thoughts on “about me

  1. Hi Sandra, I read your blog with much interest and fell in love totally with your art, just fantastic. I’m English and I live in Tursi, I sold everything in the Uk three years ago to live my dream here in Basilicata and it was the best thng that I have ever done.
    I would love to meet up with you, kindest regards Martine
    mail me at martine.italy@hotmail.co.uk

  2. Thanks, Martine, for the note. I will be in touch after the Christmas hubbub has calmed down, for sure. I used to teach English (a very short and painful interlude, as I am not made for such pursuits) in Tursi in the late 80’s. I find that area to be fascinating, especially the heaps of bones that used to be piled up in the old church where people—good Catholics all!— had dug up the floor looking for valuables! There was also part of a Greek kiln, 2500 BC, right alongside the road to this church. I wonder if it has survived?
    Sandra information@sandralangston.com

  3. I ran up on your blog today through Facebook (thanks to Basilicata Tourist Board). Written in English, it is unique in that it is dedicated to the culture and people of Basilicata. It is quite interesting to me (and probably others whose ancestors came over to USA from that region of southern Italy) because I have found it very difficult to locate much Engilsh language literature about Basilicata. My grandfather emigrated to the USA from Forenza in 1901 so I am especially eager to read more about the culture, geography, industry and of course the people living there. Thank you for your good work in presenting the region to readers with your words. Your artwork is quite nice, too! Ciao!

    1. Thank you Geoffrey. You know my first criteria for judging whether any guide to Italy is “serious” is their coverage of Basilicata. Many guides simply ignore the region altogether, or state that there is nothing of interest here! Lately, however, “Lucania” is beginning to attract tourists. This is a bittersweet victory for the region, however, as the one thing that really shines over all other regions in Italy is the lack of tourists! This summer in Bernalda we had the much-touted wedding of Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter (he has renovated a large palazzo and it will be a fancy hotel) and it was a taste of how things might be if we are overrun with tourists……it wasn’t much fun.
      One of my reasons for starting this blog was the slow trickle of people into my area who have been giving their “outsider” impressions, and I thought who better than me—with thirty-plus years of seniority!—to tell about my experience here. Twenty of those years were lived with no Internet so I am thankful for the opportunity to finally communicate!

      1. Yes, about the guide books- they totally ignore this region. That has frustrated me for years. I’ve read the few English language publications I could find, some quite excellent such as Levi’s “Christ stopped at Eboli” and a spin off by an Englishman, “Seasons in Basilicata”, but I always am looking for more. I have seen a surge in you tube videos and Facebook pages related to Basilicata and sense that it is starting to draw tourism, particularly Maratea and Matera. I hope to get over there before it is “spoiled” by this traffic. In the meantime, I will continue to follow your fabulous blog. Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences with me and others who may not have the means to readily travel to this wondrous land. If you happen to have a particular story about my grandfather’s hometown, Forenza, I would love to read it, too!

    2. Hi everybody, as for books concerning Basilicata, I can suggest “Dances with Luigi” and “Under the southern sun” both by Paul Paolicelli. I’ve never read these books but I’ve been told by my American clients they are good. As a tourist guide living and working in Basilicata, I try to share emotions, pics and my discoveries updating my facebook page “Matera – Basilicata: Italy’s secret treasure” as often as I can, I hope it will help a little bit to let English-speaking people love this wonderful region 🙂

  4. I found a very nice message about you and your blog on my facebook page ‘Mysterious Lucania’ and added you as a link on my blog. I am very impressed that you found your hidden talents and are expressing them. I did the same when I moved to Italy 11 years ago. I found I could write fantastic poetry,. Keep the muse alive. I’m glad to find you.


  5. I’m really enjoying your blog and beautiful artwork. I’m a friend of Tom and Boyce and they’ve regaled me with stories of your wonderful life for several years. I hope to cross paths with you someday! They assure me we’d be good friends 😉

  6. I have just recently found your blog and have so enjoyed your artwork and your stories…..fascinating, indeed! I hope someday to meet you, perhaps when you make a visit back to Texas. Be well and be happy!

  7. I came across your page in a google search of Bernalda, which is my father’s hometown. We live in New Jersey and I would love to buy him some of your artwork showing Bernalda. How can I get prints?

    1. Hey there, good to hear you found me! If there is any piece you particularly like I might be able to reproduce it for you. I couldn’t do a giclee print, but I could do a darn good copier version (high quality paper and ink) if I have a digital file that is big enough. As you may have noticed, my pieces are mostly about the Basilicata area and less about Bernalda in particular, but there are a few. This summer I sold some very small prints at my show in Bernalda for about 10 Euros, 8 x 11 page size.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s