"The uniques sassis of Matera" Top 5 Page for this destination Matera by metteks

Matera Travel Guide: 67 reviews and 193 photos

Stone houses carved into the rock

The houses of Matera are the unique sassis, which are houses carved into the rock of the valley where the town is situated.

The place is now a Unesco World Heritage Site and the sassis are now trendy houses, but it wasn’t always this way. Until the late 1950’s the sassis were home to 15.000 people and stock animals as well. The change came when the government built new houses and with force relocated the inhabitants of the sassis.

The region of Matera, Basilicata is and was the poorest region of Italy, where starvation and malaria flourished. The government eradicated this with a huge effort and a lot of development money.

The family, with an average of about 6 children slept together with the animals, a cow, a goat and some hens in the small caves. Not surprisingly the infant mortality was over 50 %.

View of the Sassiarea from Piazza Vittorio Veneto

There are two sassi areas, Barisano and Caveoso. Here you’ll find two rock churches and Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, which is a refurnished sassi to show how the inhabitants lived in the sassis. Also the town has a Museo della Tortura, a Torture Museum.

The rock church Santa Maria d’ldris

This picture shows the rock church Santa Maria d’ldris. It is partly carved into the rock, but here and there you can see places where stones have been built on top.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A quiet place, not at all overrun by tourists
  • In a nutshell:Unique place where life just goes on as always
  • Last visit to Matera: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated Jul 16, 2005
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Reviews (3)

Comments (4)

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    How interesting! Thank you for sharing.

  • viddra's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2006 at 1:41 PM

    This here really looks like an interesting place I'd like to visit too one day...Thanx for sharing! Greetz, Dragana

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2006 at 12:07 PM

    Fascinating page here - seems not many people know about all this. Thank you for such great work.

  • lillyia's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2005 at 8:00 AM

    Hi, I'm glad to be the first one here. Very good tips! Matera was on my 2004 December map, but... I was with relatives and finished with very few visits... Thank you for posting your information. Greetings from Bulgaria :-)

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