"From Shameful Slum to UNESCO Seal of Approval" Top 5 Page for this destination Matera by hquittner
Matera Travel Guide: 63 reviews and 171 photos
Matera (55K pop) sits at the top of a ravine carved in its limestone outcrop by a narrow river (Gravina di Matera). Aside from its (in)famous Sassi it has a couple of 3* modern hotels, restaurants, an interesting Romanesque Cathedral, other churches a good Archeology Museum and an Art Museum boasting modern works by its "inherited son" Carlo Levi.(If you are unfamiliar with his story read our General Tip in Basilicata).Remember to schedule a guided tour of the Sassi. There are no roads, only wlaking paths and maps are confusing.
The Piazza Vittorio Veneto lies at the center of the "old town". It is here that the passagiata occurs. The "new city" of tenements ,hospitals and playgrounds yhat the government erected is on a separate hill,; the evidences of industry are in another district. The social engineering is hard to see for the tourist. Outside of town we passed a giant Natuzzi furniture factory and in a shop window we were struck by the fine lines of the products. (We bought a piece of theirs last year here in N.O., quite inexpensive!) Only time will tell. Beneath the Piazza they have recently excavated a Roman hypogeum (no visiting as yet) and next to it the fountain is for the Caduti ( a War Memorial).
The origins of the poverty of the peasants of Matera resides in the oppressive Spanish rule of the "Two Sicilies". Like on the companion island, rich palazzi and churches remain. The old townspeople seem unaware of the "change", or maybe it is my imagination. Many young people believe that modernity and tourism will take hold and there will be a golden future, but it is easiest to get here by car and that is not where tourism is in Italy
- Pros:There is much more than the Sassi
- Cons:It is hard to get to Matera by yourself
- In a nutshell:The reward of travel is seeing. Getting here is a challenge.
If you have time (and a car) you could visit this town with a fine view and some interesting churches. We did not get... more travel advice
The Palazzo stands at the bottom of the Via Ridola. It is 18C Baroque. It houses local art work and the work of Carlo... more travel advice
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Matera Travel Guide
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- "matera citta della "PASSIONE""
- "I Sassi di Matera"
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