Ancient, mysterious and romantic: Matera is an absolute “must-see” for tourists who decide to discover Basilicata. European Capital of Culture in 2019 it is the most well-known town in Lucania, thanks to the famous “Sassi”.
In 1993 it was recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO (the first site in Southern Italy to receive such recognition). An historical old village which leads the visitor into a labyrinth of narrow streets, houses and churches dug into and built out of the local tufo (a soft sandy stone) creating a truly unique environment.
A unique landscape that grabs the visitor at first sight and caused directors such as Pierpaolo Pasolini who shot in 1964 "The Gospel According to Matthew" or Mel Gibson, who chose Matera as the setting for his 2004 blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ " to immediately fall in love with the location. What else? If you want to visit Basilicata it’s from Matera that you need to start!
THREE GOOD REASONS TO VISIT MATERA
“The Stones” are an excellent example of merger between man and nature. Tourists cannot miss a visit to the Noha, a house dug out of the tufo, to the assets of FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano – Italian National Trust) and the cave church of Our Lady of Idris, which seems to come out of the rock, as an offshoot of the mountain.
We also recommend a visit to the laboratory Museum of Farming and the beautiful Crypt of Original Sin, a cave church with frescoes dating back to the ninth century A.C.
A trip to Matera can be a good opportunity to enjoy the excellent cuisine of Basilicata. In one of the restaurants made in the cool of the Sassi you can enjoy dishes such as "crapiata", based on vegetables, or try the famous Lucan "peppers bran" or taste the flesh of the Podolica, a wild cow which lives on the Murgia slopes.
You cannot miss the feast of the “Madonna della Bruna”, which has been celebrated on July 2nd in Matera for over 600 years, in honor of the patron saint of the city.
Spectacular is the “STRAZZO” moment when partygoers attack the traditional triumphal carriage running through the streets of the city and tear it literally to pieces, then take home a piece as a sign of good luck.