Matera: the Stone City

Matera: the Stone City

Matera, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993 and European Capital of Culture in 2019, is one of the oldest cities in the world, whose territory holds evidence of human settlements from the Paleolithic. The Sassi, developed from the natural caves dug into the rock and after modeled in increasingly complex structures, represent a unique landscape in the world…a fascinating place to discover.

The two Sassi districts, Caveoso and Barisano, dug into the limestone, are unique from an urban planning point of view and also because of the exceptional nature of their history. The exploitation of simple peculiarities of the territory such as the constant temperature of the excavated environments and the use of slopes for water management, displays man’s ability to adapt to the environment and the natural context. The Sasso Barisano, facing north-west, is characterized mainly by houses almost completely dug into the rock and remained largely unchanged from the past. The Sasso Caveoso, looks to the south and its particular amphitheater shape recalls the Roman cavea, with houses arranged in steps.

The cliff of the Civita, which houses the Romanesque Cathedral, separates the two valleys. At the foot of the Civita and at the top of the Sassi lies the Piano, the post-medieval historical center, so called because laid on a plateau.

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