MATERA ( Basilicata)
Behind these facades are caves that are believed to have been inhabited
as far back as the Palaeolitic. These caves that have been created in part by nature with the rest of the work by human hands
digging into the rock on both sides of a deep ravine. In the 7th and 8th Centuries, Monastic orders, like the Benedictines and Basilian monks lived with their followers in the caves along the ravine. This place speaks of the ancient past, yet, up until the 1950's people lived in these caves under cramped and unsanitary conditions when the Italian government stepped in and moved the cave dwellers to more favorable housing.
The amazing city is eye-squinting brilliant in the morning sun. 'The Sassi', or Historic Center of Matera
seems to rise out of the rock in layer upon layer of block structures, stairs and grottos .
At times the city looks a little M.C. Escher like.
Things here have greatly improved for the residents of Matera. The homes, although most still have caves incorporated into them, have been revitalized. Tourism has helped to strengthen the ecomomy, Hollywood has used the city as settings for films and in 1993 Matera became a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
WAITING FOR THE LIGHTS TO COME ON.......
Back at our hotel we sat on the terrace, carved into the stone, waiting for the lights to come on over the Sassi.
Then it was time to walk to dinner...... the restaurant was in a cave,
but of course!
Taking A Trip To Matera....
We recommend:( with a thanks to Roberto & Giulia, and also to Aldo )
Soul Kitchen ( American name, Regional Italian food)