Matera, a stunningly beautiful town with an endless labyrinth of winding streets.
Get lost within the labyrinth of its streets.
Matera is a labyrinth of streets and homes and churches carved into its hard calcium rock like grottos, one over the other like a Nativity scene.
Its origin is the Paleolithic ages. Starting in the 8th Century, Benedictine and Byzantine monasteries were carved into these rocks and there are over 150 churches.
It is a Unesco site and a prosperous movie set.
Films like the ‘Passion of Christ‘ (Mel Gibson) and the ‘Gospel According to Matthew‘ (40 years earlier, by Pasolini) were filmed there.
Matera is one of Southern Italy’s best kept secrets
In 1993 it was the first site in Southern Italy to make the Unesco list. Its origin is the Paleolithicages. It is steeped in history and is home to the famous Sassi, cave dwellings, systems of collection of rain water, wine cellars, rock churches and monasteries. Built on and dug into the sides of the Gravina Canyon which drops dramatically away beneath it.
The cave dwellings of the Sassi are the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean. Now, however, the Sassi districts have gone through extensive re-development and host some incredible cave hotels, private homes, restaurants, spas, lovingly restored to enhance their original features. Eversince its origin of 7000 years ago, man has lived in the carved out dwellings of Matera. Starting in the 8th Century a.C., Benedictine and Byzantine monasteries are carved into these rocks and transformed into churches. Their architecture and decoration is rich.
There are over 155 of these churches, big and small and on various levels. Now used for movie sets like the Passion of Christ and the Gospel according to Matthew, as well as the Remake of Ben Hur, Wonder Woman and on summer 2019 for “Eclipse”, the new James Bond movie. This is a real labyrinth, a tangle of streets and piazzas. It is also very suggestive to seat night at a distance, looks like a nativity scene.
One feels like he is in a wonder world of mistique. Thisis a location MUST SEE. The various religious/pagan festivities, enhance its mysteries and enibriateus with its music Wefind ourselves being part of the theatre.
Certainly one must not miss this very particolar ridde gem.
Metaponto has an ancient origin, Greek origins, possibly the time of the Trojan war. It was settled at the same time as Taranto and Rome. It rapidly grew to have fame. Here Pythagorus was loved and here is where he ended his days and where all respected and revered him. His house was consecrated as the temple of Ceres and the street was named Museum …and still existed at the time of Cicero for he remarks on it.
There is evidence of this prominent city until after the Punic wars. There are various Greek ruins as far as temples and an amphitheater, even if most of the ancient city, located between but nothing left of the ancient rivers, was destroyed and used as building material for other cities and monuments in the area.
The museum is very rich with artifacts and is located not far to a crystalline ocean water and thin white long sand and such clean pure water that “caretta caretta” turtles reproduce in these waters —next to thick impenetrable forests with wildlife.