MATERA, Basilicata region, is located in a remote corner of southern Italy and it is one of the most beautiful Italian city. It’s famous for its ancient districts called “Sassi”: these are the oldest part of the city and represent a real city excavated in the limestone cave, vulgarly called “tuff”.
Up to 1950 the Sassi were the heart of Matera’s country life and cause of the presence of the animals inside the houses, the hygienic conditions were terrible and Matera has been defined “national shame”. After a long reclamation, they were finally rehabilitated and all their beauty came to light: so in the 1993 the Sassi was named UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was the first time for a place in the South of Italy. Matera is a city that worked hard to improve, and in fact from unrecognized city became one of the most important tourist destinations in Italy. For this reason in 2014 Matera has been proclaimed European Capital of Culture in 2019.
Reaching Matera isn’t difficult: if you arrive from far away, you can take a plane to Bari and then go by car to Matera: in one hour you’ll arrive. If you want, there’s also a bus from Bari to Matera. In this city there are many things to see and you can’t visit it in one day. Walking around the streets will be a unique experience, step by step, rock after rock, Matera’s past will start to pass in front of your eyes. If it’s possible, we recommend you to do that with a tourist guide, who will allow you to know every alley and see every detail. In Matera there are many tourist guides, who are young guys, very prepared, that love their city and that will show you its beauty with stories and anecdotes.
Some of the things to see in Matera:
CASA GROTTA (home cave) , is the best way to have an idea of how people lived in Sassi of Matera until 1950 when the sassi got abandoned for health reasons. RUPESTRIAN CHURCHES: are hundreds in the districts and in the Murgia’s Park. The churches are from different ages and have a different architecture. THE COLLECTION OF THE WATER, an ingenious system, created by Matera’s farmers, to collect and stow the rain water, that was one of the most important reason why Matera became an Unesco heritage site.
MATERA’S MURGIA PARK with its Rupestrian Churches from Neolithic. Between the many caves used as place of worship, there are many caves unchanged over time, and saints and Madonna’s frescoes that are the only one human passage’s sign.
IL PALOMBARO LUNGO: an interesting underground water city newly discovered where the rain water was stowed: going down through the Palombaro, an Ancient Underground Matera was discovered, with rooms and settings attributable to craftsmen’s activities.
As in all South Italy’s cities, also in Matera the cooking is great……forget the diet! The region was historically poor and isolated, and this is reflected in the delicious , rustic ingredients used in their cooking. Matera’s restaurants offer to visitors the dishes of the ancient farmer tradition based on legumes, meat with vegetables and cheese. And don’t forget the bread: Matera’s bread IGP is considered the best Italian bread. We suggest you to taste typical appetizers, and the CAPRIATA, a delicious soup with Matera’s typical legumes: wheat, spelt, beans, chickpeas, peas and potatoes.
From “Christ stopped at Eboli” by CARLO LEVI: “In the Sassi caves is concealed the capital of the peasants, its heart hidden in their ancient civilization. Anyone who sees Matera cannot help but be awe-struck, so expressive and touching is its sorrowful beauty.”
Go and find in our section"Holiday Home", the apartments that we have selected for you inside the SASSI of MATERA: http://bit.ly/1OeUcNW