The Eerie Charm Of Matera, Italy

Aug 27, 2019 560

You may well have a sense of déjà-vu when you enter Matera, a place that seems at once both truly exotic, oddly familiar and a little eerie. Spread over a valley in Basilicata, the town is stark, called “la città sotterranea” ("the underground city") for the vast number of hillside cave dwellings from the Paleolithic period in which, off on and on people are believed to have lived for more than 3,000 years. Of the city’s history and character, Carlo Levi wrote of its “touching and expressive painful beauty.”

There are two main caves systems, Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso, giving Matera the look of an extraterrestrial landscape of secrets, all played out among the jagged rocks. In 1993 the town was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status as "the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region.”

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