Matera: City of Caves

Matera in southern Italy is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is divided into two parts and shows to the visitor a city that could not be more contrasting. The more modern part of Matera turns its back on the old cave dwellings.

Just like most towns in the Basilicata, for a long Matera hasn’t been much visited. Even Italians avoided the area because the poor living conditions in the "Sassi di Matera" were considered as a disgrace for the whole country.

Some impressive buildings attest to better times in Matera, which was once the rich capital of the region. The cathedral from the 13th century seems very inconspicuous from the outside, but then you get blinded by the baroque interior, which is all covered up with gold leaf.

To the patron saint of the city, Madonna della Bruna, there are dedicated a church and a festival. On 2nd July there is a procession with a beautiful statuette of Madonna, which ends up in the same mess every year: the cart is torn to shreds and everyone tries to get a piece as a lucky charm.

At least as old as its traditions are some of the local dishes. So if you should ever get an invitation to a traditional meal, do not reject this offer in any case! The “lucanian” cuisine is exceptional.

But all of these sights of Matera are just the icing on the cake: The “Sassi”, the unique cave settlements, are already reason enough to visit the city. However, there is nothing more satisfying than discovering such a wonderful place with your own eyes. So we wish you a fascinating holiday in Matera in Basilicata.