Questa pagina contiene una breve introduzione a questa grande città. Cerca di descrivere, alle tante persone che vengono da tutto il mondo, quello che proveranno nel visitare questo posto unico. Che viviate qui o che abbiate delle connessioni con Matera, NDN vuole conoscere notizie interessanti ed eventi che si stanno svolgendo in città.
Per le associazioni e le aziende vi è anche la possibilità fare pubblicità con nuove destinazioni di rete, ‘promuovere se stessi a livello internazionale’ e non solo a livello locale. Non importa in che modo desiderate mettervi in gioco, contattateci al più presto. Non vediamo l’ora di ascoltarvi!”
Matera is a city located in the south east of Italy and the region of Basilicata. Some people describe the area as being in the arch of Italy’s boot.
It benefits from warmer weather conditions than the north of Italy and in general is a cheaper region to visit too. It is close to the city of Bari, which is also a popular destination, as it has a beach, harbor and an international airport.
The city is located on one side of a stream bottomed canyon, where the ravine known as Gravina is positioned. On the other side, is a large green expanse known as the Murgia Natural Park and Cave Churches.
No one knows the exact date when the caves, that dominate this location were originally made, but it is believed to be the very first human settlement in Italy, possibility inhabited by eastern farmers, being an example of a prehistoric ‘ troglodyte’ settlement. The soft volcanic (calcareous) rock or ‘tufa’ stone, as it is known, forms the canyon and surrounding area. This made it easy to make caves homes and paths, which were easy to protect. Having this ravine and a very large natural park area too, meant there was easy access to water, food and essential materials too.
Due to all the natural resources and geographical advantages this region had, it benefitted from increased population and investment throughout its history. The Romans founded the city in the 3rd century BC and it grew in the 7th and 8th centuries, when colonised by both Benedictine and Basilian monastic institutions. In the 9th and 10th centuries it was fought over by the Byzantines and German Emperors, being partly destroyed by Louis ll. It rebuilt itself to fall foul to pestilence and earthquakes at the start of the 15th century. The population rebelled against the oppression they were suffering from and killed Count Giovalli Carlo Tramontano in 1514. It again thrived during the 17th and 18th centuries being the capital of the Basilicata region and in 1927 it became the capital of the province of Matera. One piece of history that they are very proud of, is that on the 21st September 1943, the Materani were the first Italians to rise against the German occupation and fight the Wermacht.
Many years of neglect and no form of government help or investment, forced Matera into major decline. Most of the population in the area of Sassi were living in absolute squalled conditions, the cave homes had little or no sanitation and many had livestock actually living in the dwellings. The water was putrid, the heat was intense, there was poor quality and small amounts of food available, therefore many of the community were suffering from Malaria and other diseases. It was not until Carlo Levi wrote the book entitled Christ Stopped at Eboli in 1945, basically saying that even Christ had forgotten about these people. This caused the government at the time to declare it as a ‘National Shame’ and the massive task of forcibly rehousing the residents started. Many moved into new-build properties outside the city, the intention being to create new communities there. Although this definitely saved the lives of many, especially babies and children, it ripped the heart out if the city. Many unable to return to their beloved Sassi, but hating their new homes, emigrated to improved their families lives.
Ironically, this national shame drew curious visitors to Sassi, which increased further when it was declared a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in 1993. Since then, ‘the rise’ of Sassi continued with many people returning to the caves and turning them back into homes, plus hotels, restaurants, cafes, galleries and museums etc. Then in 2014 Matera was given the title of European City Capital of Culture for 2019.
The outstanding features of Sassi are not only its location and history, but it’s ‘spontaneous architecture’ as it is officially known. This labyrinth of buildings is an amazing site to see, as the buildings are literally build on top of each other and in no pattern or order. The roof of one is either the entrance to another or maybe an alley or street. These inter-connecting cobbled streets and buildings of both parts of the city; Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso are a unique and fascinating place to walk through.
The city had 150 monasteries and churches, 96 wine cellars and many cisterns, which brought water up from the deep ravine below the city. Some of the cave churches and dwellings have been kept in their original condition and others carefully restored. There is still approximately 40% of the buildings in Sassi that remain run-down, so there is still plenty of potential for further improvement and investment.
There are many sights to see when in Matera and particularly in Sassi, but due to its sporadic layout, it is advisable to have a guided tour? They will ensure that visitors see the main tourist destinations such as; Matera Cathedral, San Pietro Caveoso and San Pietro Barisano churches. There are several caves that have been restored to represent how they used to be, such as; Casa Grotto del Barisano and Di Vico Solitario. Add two of the chiese rupestri, Madonna dell Idris and San Giovanni in Monterrone, which are connected by a tunnel. Try and visit some of the museums, galleries and places that display artefacts, art and pieces of cultural significance such as Museo Nazionale Ridola and Museo Nazionale D’Arte Medievale e Moderna Dell’Alto Regione Basilicata and MUSMA. This very important area within the city of Matera is governed by Foundation Sassi in order to help and protect it sustainably for years to come.
A must visit is Casa Noha, which tourists are advised to go to as early in their trip as possible, as it shows videos of the history of Matera and Sassi. After watching this extremely well made film, it will enable visitors to really appreciate and understand ‘the rise and fall and rise again’ of this unique city. It finishes with the announcement of the fact Matera will be European City Capital of Culture in 2019 and the excitement and joy this caused (for more information contact Foundation Matera 2019). Even the building itself is interesting as it was donated to FAI (Italian National Trust) by the Lattore and Fodale families, who wanted it to be used for historical reasons, even thought they could have sold it for a substantial amount of money.
The main historical, cultural and religious festival in Matera is Festa Dell’Alto Bruna which is held on the 2nd July every year. It honor’s the cities Patron Saint; Madonna Dell’Alto Bruna, with a large procession, costumes, food, drink, entertainment and fireworks.
Another tradition, which started in the 1500 hundreds, was that every home was asked to keep on a light as a welcome to visitors, friends and family. This has been replaced by permanent street lighting, which makes the city look as stunning by night as by day!
The look of the city has been a part of its charm, but has also made it a location for several movies, such as; The Passion of Christ, The Nativity Story, King David and The Gospel According to St Matthew.
Matera is not only Sassi, even if that is a good enough reason to visit anyway, but it now has growing, modern and stylish hospitality and retail areas of the city too. There is an increase in high- class shopping throughout the city, plus many quality eateries too. There is definitely a feel of quality not quantity in everything this city is doing to grow its image and reputation, from small boutique hotels to worldwide branded clothing and jewelry venues.
Matera grew out of the actual rocks that form the city and that has been the reason why it has an amazing ‘Rise and Fall and Rise again’ story, unlike any other city in the world. It feels as if the actual stone that forms the buildings and streets has a life of its own. The city has had a trouble upbringing, but has learnt from its past. It is now maturing and knows what it wants for its future. This city combines history and culture with style and class, like no other destination in the world. Visit Matera now, during the coming years or during its European City Capital of Culture year 2019 and experience a destination like no other!