Before the latest Bond movie makes it super famous, we were there first! In 2019 we visited the impressive town of Matera.
Matera is a magical stone city with breath taking vistas, perched on the edge of a cliff, high above a ravine.
Before Bond, the city was already world famous for for its ancient town, the “Sassi di Matera”. The Sassi originated in a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, and these dwellings are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in what is now Italy.
The Sassi are dug into the rock and many of them are really little more than small caverns. The ancient town grew up on one slope of the rocky ravine created by a river that is now a small stream, and this ravine is known locally as “la Gravina”.
There was a Salvador Dali exhibition on when we visited, so there are lots of weird and wonderful artworks dotted around the town.
There are also many churches cut into the rock of hillsides and ravines called chiese rupestri.