Matera thus presents a timeless landscape that does not know the same, with shapes, colors, visions that make it a unique place in the world, a guardian internationally recognized as a World Heritage Site.
The trip to Matera is not just about to leave, but also to return with more treasure in the eyes and in oneself: the alleys, the white of the rock, the blue of a sky so close to the traveler, will become treasures engraved forever in storage.
Because in those old houses of tuff dwells what no one would ever have imagined: the history of the world.
The oldest nucleus is Civita, dominated by the Cathedral, on the sides of which two villages leave: Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso.
The Sassi are a labyrinth of houses, coves, churches, caves, buildings lying to each other, to take advantage of every inch of habitability and to meet primary needs such as rainwater collecting and channeling.
The Sassi dwellings are all different from each other, depending on the historical moment they belong to and the orographic location. One of the most representative of these homes is the Grotto House, now a museum. Its environments reproduce with extreme fidelity what life was in rural times.
There are dozens of rock churches in the city, ranging from Romanesque Apulian to Duomo and San Giovanni, Baroque of St. Francis and Purgatory.
After the abandonment around the 1960s, the Sassi has undergone a major revaluation and over the last 15 years there have been numerous recovery and restructuring works.
In 1993 the Sassi was recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, thus becoming part of the “World Heritage List” and becoming the first registered site in southern Italy.
If you follow a path, you can start from Piazzetta Pascoli, in the center of the city, a panoramic spot from which you can admire the incredible landscape of the surrounding Sassi and Murgia and you will understand why the city was chosen by numerous directors to Their films.
Drive to Piazza San Pietro Caveoso where you can visit the church of S. Francesco D’assisi erected in the 17th century on a former religious building.
On the square is the little Monterrone (a few meters away), on top of which is one of the most beautiful rock churches of Matera: Santa Maria dell’Idris. Hollow in the rock, is an example of beauty and spiritual suggestion.
Return to Piazza San Pietro Caveoso and climb the narrow street along the panoramic road. There you will find the beautiful rocky church of Santa Lucia at Malve, home to artistic exhibitions that keeps frescoes of the XII and XIII century.
In addition to crushing, neviere and churches excavated in the tuff, we recommend a visit to the Long Palombaro, under the central Piazza Vittorio Veneto, An example of a cistern (about 20 meters high) that once collected rainwater and supplied the wells in the area . A spectacular place for its large size.
Maternal Murgia is an important presence in the morphology and character of the city. It is a plateau made of limestone cut into two by a deep split even more than 100 meters that the water has dug into the rock. On one side of the gravesite is Matera, on the other side the mountain offers paths in nature and history and, above all, a view of Matera that can not be forgotten. As you walk, look carefully and do not miss the scent of thymus and the flights of the grilled hawks that, especially at sunset, spill numerous on the slopes of Murgia and Matera.
All this is a great asset and is under the protection of the Murgia Materana Park, which, extending over 6,000 hectares, is characterized by Mediterranean scrub. Numerous and fascinating are the rock churches, the prehistoric villages of the Neolithic era, the tuff quarries and the masseries spread in the territory. The rock churches, about 150, all dug in the rock as a testimony to the strong peasant religiosity. The Park of Murgia is also a true paradise for bird watching enthusiasts. There are very rare birds such as the whitish, the kite, the larvas and the cowboy. Rapaces like the grilled hawk live here alongside the man and nest under the roofs of the abandoned houses of the Sassi or under the tiles of the Benedictine Abbey of Montescaglioso.
A testimony to the human presence of that distant era was found at the foot of the gravina, in the Bats ‘Grotto, with traces of the human presence from the Palaeolithic, the Neolithic and the Metals’ Age.