Next Stop Matera: “Cave Town” Capital of Europe

Apr 05, 2019 200

Strike up the bands! We’re talking about marching bands drawn from 131 villages in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, joined by 10 bands from elsewhere in Italy and Europe. They filled the squares, alleyways and courtyards citywide for the colorful opening ceremonies on Jan. 19 saluting Matera, 2019 Cultural Capital of Europe (a twin-bill with Polvdiv, Bulgaria).

Basilicata shares the “boot” of Italy with Puglia—the relatively new darling of Italian tourism—and the jewel in its crown is Matera, one of the oldest—at least 9,000 years—continually occupied places in the world. Like Cappadocia in Turkey, Matera is famous for her hundreds of ancient sassi caves, which earned the designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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