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Matera

About Matera

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What people say

"Once known as the “shame of Italy,” Matera is now an otherwordly UNESCO World Heritage Site and was one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2019. To fully appreciate the complicated history of Matera, book a tour with an expert guide (options linked below). Pure charm… this is what Matera, with its colours, light and views, offers visitors. Largely carved out of and built with tuff, the town has an incredible history and a deep sense of spirituality, purity and authenticity. The sassi, ancient cave dwellings that were inhabited until the middle of the 20th century, and the rupestrian churches are the most remarkable aspect of the town, but not the only reasons for visiting this beautiful and unique part of the world. Matera also boasts a superb artistic and cultural heritage, delicious cuisine and a warm sense of hospitality. The area of the sassi extends along a small canyon called Gravina, which forms the oldest part of the city. They are divided into three main groups: the Civita, which was the first urban nucleus, the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano. If you want to fully understand how people used to live in the sassi, head to the Casa Grotta, a kind of mini-museum that recreates the atmosphere of a typical sasso dwelling. Particularly worth visiting are the Church of Santa Maria della Valle and the Crypt of Original Sin. Last, but certainly not least, don’t miss the wonderful local cuisine, with its delicious oven-baked bread, mouth-watering cheeses, and a huge variety of home-made pasta best eaten with a bottle or two of Matera’s local DOC wines! Shop for artisan souvenirs at Geppetto to pick up the city’s famous “cuccù” rooster whistles, Artelier Ceramiche Matera for ceramic art and home decor, and Mancini Timbri Del Pane for traditional wooden bread stamps. Put on your comfortable hiking shoes and join local guide Renato Favilli for a walking tour of the Sassi by day or night – or opt for a drive through town in the back of a quaint three-wheeled Ape Calessino buggy. To really understand this fascinating city known for its sassi (cave dwellings), it’s best to hire an expert guide like Fabio Congedo (former archaelogist) of Imago Artis, who can explain its complicated history and show you the best spots in town. Among the best historical ovens where you can taste the top baking traditions are the Forno Quintano, Forno Paoluccio (for focaccia) and Forno Gennaro Perrone."
"The city of caves, stones and rock churches, Matera is one of the oldest still inhabited cities in the world included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage. It's a magical place that preserves evidence of human settlements since the Palaeolithic period. The "Sassi" of Matera are two districts (Sasso Caves and Sasso Barisano) that are considered one of the most unique landscapes in Europe. It's also a favourite spot for films shot, you can see it in "No Time to Die", "Wonder Woman", "Quantum of Solace", "The Omen". This southern Italian city is one of the most unique and spectacular places not only in Italy, but in the world."
"Matera is like no other Italian village I’ve ever seen! Referred to as ‘little Jerusalem’ it is one of the longest continually inhabited places on earth. Once thought of as a disgrace, Matera has recently been named European capital of culture & featured in the new James Bond film! "

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