Matera, the Italian city carved into solid rock, revitalized

Aug 08, 2018 410

Today, it's one of the most astonishing places in Italy -- a city carved into a rugged hillside -- but just a few years ago, Matera was branded a national disgrace. Many residents still remember when the city had a reputation for squalor and its residents made their homes in dark grottoes that in some cases were originally used by their ancestors 9,000 years ago.

Shared with barnyard animals, these caves were riddled with disease leading to appalling mortality rates until the government began forcibly relocating inhabitants in the 1950s. In recent years, this ancient city has seen a dramatic change of fortunes: many of the grottoes were renovated and the Instagrammable area is now home to restaurants, shops and hotels.

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