In the southern region of Basilicata, carved in the rock, standing where it has been for thousands of years, lies Matera. Considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, it is renowned for its prehistorical dwellings called “Sassi“, dug straight into the calcareous rock.
Matera lies in the Murgia, a harsh plateau in between the Puglia and Basilicata regions. Until the `80 Matera and surroundings were considered undeveloped, and relied only on farming and livestock. But after years of diligent administration, the tourism connected to the old town, the Sassi and the Rupestrian Churches was finally endorsed. Matera is also considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993.
Due to its resemblance to Jerusalem and its surroundings, Matera was used as setting by many filmmakers. Among the most famous, here were shot Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), Bruce Beresford’s King David (1985) and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004).
In April 2015 Matera was also depicted in an in-depth piece of The New Yorker called “A Cave with a view“.
The ancient atmosphere fascinated us so much that we decided to spend the night among the caves, under the same sky filled of stars which used to be seen by our ancestors, thousands of years ago.
Photo by Enrico e Matteo Fabi