The Sassi of Matera are a World Heritage Site, thanks to their charm
The town of Matera is one of the largest municipalities in Basilicata; it is located 65 km from Bari and 75 from Taranto, in a hilly area of the region. The particularity of Matera are its Sassi.
This is the ancient city built in such a way as to be totally hidden from possible invaders. The origins are rooted in antiquity, since the first remains of settlements date back to the Paleolithic. The Sassi of Matera extend in the old part of the city, which for years has been uninhabited.
In the 1950s, in fact, Matera was rebuilt not far from the Sassi, which were totally abandoned. It was only in the 1980s that people began to live again in these very special houses: instead of being built above ground, they are totally or partially dug into the white limestone.
The scenic effect is truly incredible, also because the Sassi of Matera are located along a ravine, a real ravine, so when you get there you don’t notice any houses, but you only see the town at the last minute.
There are many beauties of the Sassi of Matera that are worth visiting. In order to enjoy the landscape is best to proceed on foot, leaving the car near the highest area of the stones. Proceeding you can admire the ancient houses carved into the hard rock, characterized by special channels and cisterns, designed to maintain water over time.
At the top you can see the Cathedral in Apulian Romanesque style, which stands out above the city. There are many churches today in Matera and throughout the area, being dug into the rock are called cave churches, are not all accessible, and it is therefore good to contact the associations that take care to be able to organize the visit.
The best way to go to Matera is to choose Trapani or Bari airport as a stopover; from there it is necessary to rent a car, because Apulia and Basilicata are crossed by small, narrow and hilly roads, where public services are not among the best and most capillary in Italy.
Near Matera there are many agritourisms, the best way to approach Basilicata, so you can also enjoy the food and wine of these places, rich in ancient traditions and very special dishes. Nearby there are many other small towns to visit, such as Altamura, Gioia del Colle or Alberobello.
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