Blog/Thursday March 21st, 2019

Matera

I just made my way back from Matera, located in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata, awarded with the title of the 2019 European Capital of Culture together with Plovdiv in Bulgaria. The city has taken its chance to exit the reputation in which a lot of Southern Italian cities fall, of being disorganized, with inefficient services and lack of opportunities for its people. With hundreds of thousands of tourists and visitors expected, the city has long been preparing for 50 weeks of events, all aimed at spreading the message that culture must be accessible to everybody. “Matera 2019 Open Future”, this is the slogan of the city, that has been granted this year’s title in the fall of 2014. The ancient city of Matera is steeped in history and is home to the famous Sassi, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back over 7000 years. While part of the town spreads out across the Murgia Plateau, the famed Sassi comprises cave dwellings and rock churches built on and dug into the sides of the Gravina Gorge which drops dramatically away beneath it. The cave dwellings of the Sassi are the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean. Now, however, the Sassi district has gone through extensive re-development and hosts some incredible cave hotels, private homes and restaurants, lovingly restored to enhance their original features. A visit to Matera, particularly these times, is a must not to be missed

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 –

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – the Cathedral. Cappella del SS. Sacramento

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Caveoso

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Church of San Giovanni Battista

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Caveoso, church of San Pietro Caveoso

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Barisano

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – the Cathedral

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – view over the city at dusk

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Barisano

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Barisano

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Barisano

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Barisano

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Barisano, the Cathedral

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Caveoso as seen from the sky

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – view over the Sasso Caveoso

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Pasquale Romano, via Sant’Antonio Abate in the heart of Sasso Barisano, working the local stone, the “Calcarenite”

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Palombaro Lungo, once used to collect and store water

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – view over the Sasso Barisano at dusk

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – the famous “peperoni cruschi” meaning “crusty peppers”, a traditional food from Matera

 

Italy, Matera – European Culture Capital 2019 – Sasso Caveoso – Santa Lucia alle Malve is a rupestrian church, an ancient monastery that welcomed Benedictine-order nuns between the 8th and 16th centuries. It was in the 8th century that churches inside ravines’ tuff stone caves became popular in Matera, as well as in Calabria, Apulia and Sicily.

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