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Matera


Matera is located in the Basilicata region, but as it borders with the Apulia region, we warmly recommend visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site and designated European capital of culture 2019 during your holidays in Apulia. v

 

Matera


Matera is located in the Basilicata region, but as it borders with the Apulia region, we warmly recommend visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site and designated European capital of culture 2019 during your holidays in Apulia. v

Matera – capital of culture and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Your trip from Apulia to Matera takes you through the Murgia, the karst plateau in the center of Apulia, which is characterized by gentle hills and steep limestone cliffs.

As early as the Stone Age, people took advantage of the soft limestone of the Murgia plateau to dig their cave dwellings into the rock.

Modern Matera and Sassi, the cave dwellings, side by side – a stunning contrast meets your eyes in this town located on a rise.

The particular charm of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera might not take hold of you right away.  At first you might feel a bit uneasy when visiting the Sassi, the cave dwellings inhabited until the 1950s and until then considered the shame of Italy.

However, fascination for this unique place wins you over, as soon as you are acquainted with some background information. In spite of living under the most primitive of conditions in their caves and caverns, without running water and without electricity, sharing the same room with their animals in winter and using dung for heating, the inhabitants were very reluctant to give up their homes, when, between 1950 and 1960, the government planned and decided to move them to newly built apartment buildings.   

While strolling through town, you get an impression of what life used to be like then; some of the abandoned caves are open to visitors.

Clever landlords have seized the opportunity, have modernized several of the 3,300 caves and have turned them into restaurants and cafés. Stop for a cup of coffee and take in the special atmosphere of the Sassi around you.

Movie setting Matera

At Matera, European capital of culture 2019, Hollywood fans and movie aficionados will be reminded of the settings of quite a number of world-famous films.

Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" was shot there, for example, and Richard Gere starring as King David walked through its alleys in 1985. 

How to get there: From the valley of the trulli, it takes you about 1.5 h by car to get to Matera. From the Salento, it takes you about 2-3 hours by car.

Parking: Cars can be parked in the parking garage in Via G. Saragat for EUR 0,50 per hour. From there, it takes you 10 minutes to walk to the center of Matera.

Restaurant recommendation: Ristorante Alle Fornaci, Piazza Firrao, Matera, Tel.: (0039) 0835 3350371