Matera

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Matera

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Matera

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Matera

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and The Sassi

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and The Sassi

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and The Sassi

MATERA & THE SASSI

Matera is a unique and fascinating town steeped in history. Thought to be one of the world’s oldest towns dating back as far as the Palaeolithic times, Matera is now a popular tourist spot boasting hundreds of ancient caves, rock churches, delicious local cuisine and luxurious boutique hotels.

The most famous part of Matera is the Sassi district, now designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and the 2019 European Capital of Culture . Here you can see hundreds of troglodyte dwellings and churches dug out of the rock. Explore. The cave dwellings were lived in until the 1950’s and are the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean.

The Civita district, which is the oldest and highest group of buildings, dominates and divides the two Sassi areas, Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso. The Sassi district is now undergoing stylish renovations; including the elegant 5* Palazzo Gattini Hotel situated on the spur which divides the two areas. In the newer area, the Cathedral dominates Matera from high up and has been the main social and religious reference point of the Sassi and the entire town for many years. It is worth visiting the Cathedral, and the stunning 13th Century Byzantine fresco.

Over the past 10 years the Sassi has undergone extensive re-development and now hosts some incredible and luxurious cave hotels, private homes and restaurants, lovingly restored to enhance their original features. Explore this complex network of caves, churches, streets, stairways, archways and terraces on foot to experience the best of this atmospheric city and don’t forget to check out the stunning Cave Hotels for a unique way to discover Basilicata.

Matera is also known for being a film location with films such as Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004) making use of its distinctive feel which is reminiscent of Biblical times.

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DON’T MISS

Matera Cathedral

THE CATHEDRAL

Matera Cathedral dominates Matera from the top of the Sassi district and has been the main social and religious reference point of Matera for many years. It is worth visiting the Cathedral, and the stunning 13th century Byzantine fresco.

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MATERA MUSEUMS

The Museum of Contemporary Sculpture ‘MUSMA’, a recently refurbished museum of sculptures, contains various exhibits that are complemented by the atmospherically lit caves and should be included on your visit to Matera.

The Archaeological Museum Domenico Ridola is the oldest museum in Basilicata, dating back to 1911. The Museum displays finds from the Neolithic period, including archaeological materials found in the areas of Murgia Timone and Timmari. In the Timmari site, significant funerary objects of the fourth century BC were discovered , such as monumental vases with red figures and numerous religious statues. All of these remains are now on exhibition at Ridola’s Museum.

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THE CRYPT OF ORIGINAL SIN

The Crypt of the Original Sin is located just a few kilometres from Matera, along the ancient Appian way, in one of the ravines that criss-cross the plateau of the Murgia park of historical rock churches. Here you will find the “Sistine Chapel” of the rupestrian wall paintings. In a rocky hollow overlooking the limestone cliff, the masterly hand of the “painter of the flowers of Matera” has narrated scenes from the old and new testaments in a cycle of frescos dating back to the 9th century AD.  Pre-booking is essential.

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HISTORICAL NATURAL PARK OF THE ROCK CHURCHES OF MATERA

The Historical Natural Park of the Rock Churches of Matera, known in Italian as the ‘Parco Della Murgia Materana’,  is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is situated within the dramatic gorge known as the ‘Murgia Matera’, an area that extends for about 8,000 hectares between Matera and the town of Montescaglioso.  The park consists of over 150 rock churches and includes the Sassi district of Matera.

VILLAGES NEAR MATERA

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BERNALDAHome of the Palazzo Margherita, Francais Ford Coppolla’s hotel – about 55Km

CRACO – The Famous Ghost Town Of Basilicata – about 55Km

IRSINAabout 40Km

METAPONTOBeach resort on the peaceful Ionian Coast – about 45Km

MIGLIONICOHome to the “Castle Of The Bad Council”- about 20Km

MONTESCAGLIOSO The City Of The Monasteries – about 18Km

Please Click On The Map Image Below

Matera Map