Matera 2019



Discover Matera, UNESCO heritage site, and Basilicata by choosing among different landscape itineraries.
Places that tell the story of a pristine southern land with a unique appearance.


Matera is one of the most ancient cities in the world, whose territory preserves evidence of human settlements from the Paleolithic to our days, with no interruption. It represents an extraordinary page written by man throughout 10.000 years of history. It’s the city of Sassi, the original urban core, developed from natural caves and further shaped into more complex structures inside the two natural amphitheaters of Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano. In 1993, UNESCO declared Matera’s Sassi World Heritage Site; the 6th in Italy in chronological order and first in the South. On this occasion UNESCO used for the first time the concept of cultural landscape as reason for the entry, which will be used again later for other sites.
The unrepeatable architecture of the Sassi tells a story about man’s ability to adapt perfectly to the environment and natural context, skillfully using simple characteristics such as the constant temperature of the excavated sites, the rocky bank’s own limestone to build above ground and the use of slopes to control water and meteoric showers.
The architectural structure consists of two sistems, the one that’s immediately visible, made with gradual layering of houses, courts, galleries, palaces, churches, streets and gardens; and the internal one, invisible at first glance, which consists of tanks, icehouses, burrows and water control systems, essential to the life and wealth of a community.
Matera’s Sassi arise on one of the sides of a canyon eroded over time by the Gravina torrent. On the other side we can find the Historical Archaeological and Natural Park of rock churches of the Matera area, whose landscape represents the original context, developed in time with human settlements.
The Park preserves the most ancient settlements of the area. Among these, the Bats Cave, whose Palaeolithic findings are kept at the Domenico Ridola National Museum in Matera; and the Neolithic villages of Murgecchia, Murgia Timone and Trasanello.


Placed in the heart of the National Park of Alta Murgia, Gravina in Puglia proves itself to be a wonderful area to visit: from the Old Town, rich in churches entirely excavated in the rock, to the underground city, which leads to old cellars and tanks; from the famous Viadotto Bridge hanging on the Gravina torrent to the majestic Basilica Cathedral.
15 minutes from Gravina, there’s the ancient city of Matera, known as the city of Sassi, which offer a view on the life of ancient populations that have settled in the city since the Paleolithic. The Sassi, renovated over time, went from being a sign of poverty, as they were in the 80s, to comfortable and coveted structures.


City of the Itria Valley and Trulli’s Murgia. Known for its peculiar homes called Trulli, which were added to the World Heritage List in 1996 with the reason: “exceptional typology and uninterrupted settlement, survival of a prehistoric building culture”. Rioni Monti and Aia Piccola represent the most ancient and striking neighbourhoods.
The buildings in Rione Monti are used for commercial purposes, whilst the ones in Rione Aia Piccola were protected from human action, so it’s possible to immerse oneself in history and traditions there. You can’t miss The Siamese Trulli and the Master Trullo, which represents the maximum design capacity reached for this type of building and, at the same time, opens a new building phase with the use of mortar, called “a cotto”.

  • Trulli
  • Red House, Southern Shoah Memorial museum
  • SS. Medici Sanctuary
  • S. Antonio Church


The most beautiful Karst cave in the world is the hidden treasure of Castellana Grotte, a town in the Bari hinterland, distant a little more than 10 kilometers from Alberobello’s trulli and Polignano a Mare’s shore. It owns its name and the touristic vocation to the internationally famed speleological complex near the town.
The caves of Castellana are a set of cavities and tunnels of karst origin, that branch underground for 3 kilometers and up to a depth of 70 meters, with an internal temperature of around 16 degrees.
The Caves offer visitors a unique scenery, like canyons, fossiles and forests of stalactites and stalagmites, like the Hall of Grandi Cortine, with red alabaster drapes, and the White Cave, the brightest cavity in the world. Newer paths, discovered in 1982, are only accessible for scientific research.

  • The Altar’s Cave
  • The Dome’s Cave and The passage of Presepio, where it lies a stalagmite which resembles Mother Mary, named Madonnina delle Grotte.


With its wood reservation “Pantano”, its sandy white beaches and its archaeological museum “La Siritide”, it’s the ideal destination for a seaside cultural holiday.

  • The Altar’s Cave
  • The Dome’s Cave and The passage of Presepio, where it lies a stalagmite which resembles Mother Mary, named Madonnina delle Grotte.


Described as the “Ghost City” for the forced departure of its inhabitants after a landslide in 1963, it has often been a movie location.


Agora, the theatre and the temples of Hera and Apollo Licio; the 15 undamaged Doric columns of Tavole Palatine and one of the most important Archaeological museums in Southern Italy.


The National Park of Pollino is the widest protected area in Italy, where it’s possible to engage in quiet hikes in the wild and unspoilt nature, trekking, climbing and rafting.