Adventure in Matera: A Most Unusual City

Nov 02, 2017 934

Matera is a haunting city nestled among the rolling hills of Basilicata in southern Italy. Four hundred metres above sea level, it is bisected by a ravine through which the River Gravina flows. On the cliffs along this deep gorge are cave dwellings in which families lived in poverty from Palaeolithic times until the 1950s when they were rehoused by the Italian government. 

These caves are known as ‘sassi’ and several of them have been converted into hotels, restaurants and, indeed, many reconstructed homes which have been inhabited since the 1980s. You will hear the word ‘rupestrian’ mentioned often in Matera. This refers to the cave churches, of which there are several, and the religious art which accompanies them.

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