Destinations Italy – The beautiful rocks of Matera
The ancient city of Matera is one of the most beautiful and charming tourist destinations in southern Italy. It attracts the attention of thousands of adventurers and lovers of alternative tourism. But now the city is gaining even more popularity. It has been announced that this city will become the European Capital of Culture in 2019. Matera is located in one of the most beautiful and authentic regions of southern Italy, Basilicata. The name of the city means “my country” and looks back on very ancient history. Matera is called a cave settlement because the city was built into the rock. The oldest residential area of this city is called I Sassi (the Rocks) and since 1993 it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world. If you climb this rock town and look down, it looks like a ghetto at first sight. But after a few seconds this place reveals its magic. Actually, before it was declared a World Heritage Site, Matera was almost empty for several decades. Only a few inhabitants who could afford it financially have kept their property. Today these properties exist as small inns, galleries, handmade souvenir shops and restaurants. The natural caves in Sassi di Matera made of tufa have been transformed into houses. This residential area is like a labyrinth because of the dark green painted doors and wooden windows. One of the most interesting places is the rock church, from which a fairytale view over the city opens up. But before you enter the cave, be sure to visit Casa Grotta – a typical rock house where a whole family lived with the animals.
In Matera, you may feel that time stands still. And to be honest, that’s not wrong at all, especially around midday in summer. The stones are heated by the sun to such an extent that even the lizards crawling on them look for a cooler and shimmering place. The locals are especially nice and friendly. Besides the friendly hospitality in the family restaurants, you can have detailed and nice conversations and learn numerous details about the city and the region that you can’t find in any travel guide. The cinema production contributes a lot to the popularity of the city. Many film scenes were shot here. Mel Gibson shot the film “The Passion of Christ” in Matera. Matera is a unique city because of its architecture, its spirit and the connection between past and present.
About the town
The typical rock house
Time stands still here
The natural caves attract the attention of many directors
The restaurants in Matera offer a romantic and hospitable atmosphere.
Take a stroll through the labyrinthine alleyways