Matera is the city known worldwide for the Sassi, its ancient quarters. Matera is located in Basilicata on the Murge plateau on the border with Puglia. A deep canyon called the Gravina separates the old town from the Murgian territory.
Facing the two Sassi is a unique rocky landscape, now falling within the Murgia Materana Park, the treasure chest that holds the city’s little-known secrets and origins. Matera and its surrounding area have an ancient history and preserve evidence of human presence since the Paleolithic period, a presence that continues for millennia to the present day.
The Sassi of Matera were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. In 2014 Matera was designated as European Capital of Culture 2019.
The charm of the cave town
The Sassi of Matera as a whole are a place that produces special sensations in those who live and observe them; they are an urban environment that forms a cultural landscape entirely immersed in the rocky setting of the Murgia.
Many filmmakers have been struck by the light and colors that the Sassi reverberate. Pasolini saw Matera as a timeless place and wanted to shoot one of his most important films there, The Gospel According to Matthew.
After him many other directors, more or less important, followed his example.
Many important urbanists also worked there together with sculptors, painters and poets; some stayed there for long periods drawing inspiration from it. All of them, through the relationships they weaved with the city’s cultural fabric, contributed in the following decades to the socio-economic redemption of the city and to making Matera a cultural reference point for all of southern Italy.
, the Sassi and the neighborhoods built after depopulation are now the site of important cultural initiatives, the object of urban regeneration and a laboratory for experimentation and construction of a new cultural model for all of southern Italy.