Miracle in Matera

Oct 17, 2019 644

Perched high above the instep of the Boot in the eastern extreme of the region of Basilica is a city unlike any other in Italy. What makes Matera unique and marks it as a Southern Italian “must see” are its historic, or rather prehistoric, quarters: the sassi. Literally meaning “the rocks,” Matera’s sassi offer the best example of troglodyte (cave-dwelling) existence anywhere in the Mediterranean.

People have inhabited these caves since Paleolithic times (as early as 15,000 B.C.), making Matera one of the world’s oldest continuously settled cities, older than Petra or Byblos. Matera’s sassi give the impression of a city that’s crumbling, and as little as 50 years ago that impression was accurate. Following WW II and Carlo Levi’s shocking exposé Christ Stopped in Eboli, Matera was considered “the shame of Italy” and residents were forcibly evacuated.

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SOURCE: https://postcardsfromtheboot.com

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