The white limestone silhouetted against the sky catches the eye with its profile, then guides the gaze to the soaring bell tower of the Romanesque Cathedral; this is when you begin to notice that the limestone is inhabited, animated by a dense weave of houses, grottos, alleys and churches, literally sculpted by the hand of Man, to become his home, his refuge, his living space. This is how Matera, 2019 European Capital of Culture, presents itself in all its splendour from the hill of the Murgia Materana, on the opposite side of the steep Gravina: a casket that encloses beneath the surface its precious testaments stratified in the rock, among stone churches, quarries, cisterns, to tell the story of the coexistence between Man and nature already from the Palaeolithic.
From the beginning of time, Man began to inhabit the natural caves of this area, extending to the entire Materan Hill, where the passage of so many populations, from the Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines, from the Normans to the Spaniards, left a distinctive mark over the centuries, with the construction of perched villages with an antique and breathtaking charm. Unchanged over time, it remains a fascinating mix of culture and traditions rooted in a solid agricultural and pastoral context, largely mirrored in the wholesome foods and hospitable character of the inhabitants.
Let yourself be enchanted by the view of the Sassi
Visit the highest point of Matera and its Romanesque cathedral
Hike in the Murgia Materana
Visit the rock churches and the crypt of the original sin
Stroll along Via delle Beccherie, between osterias and craft shops
Listen to a concert at Casa Cava
Enjoy the excellent PGI Matera bread in a historic bakery
Walk in the centre and in the underground city
Go on a trip to Montescaglioso
Venture into the park of the Murgia to discover prehistoric caves