Matera: a hidden treasure in Basilicata, in the south of Italy
Matera enchants everyone, leaving visitors speechless.
It’s one of the oldest city in the world and things didn’t change with the passing of the time: history, culture and nature meet creating charming landscapes.
Due to this, Matera is a unique city and a timeless place.
But the most famous things here are the Sassi and, for them, it became the first site in southern Italy declared a World Heritage Site.
Furthermore, landscapes and natural areas of different flora and fauna are incomparably beautiful.
Anyway, the “Sassi” or “Stones” are probably the first thing you still think about when someone talk about Matera.
Because of it, the city of the Sassi has been nominated European Capital of Culture for 2019.
It’s the chance for getting rid of the sad definition of “national shame” that it has been for many years. In conclusion, a perfect victory!
Ancient Town: the Sassi of Matera
Matera is an incredible city, dug into the calcareous rock. The Sassi are a great example of an architectural complex perfectly in symbiosis with the natural landscape surrounding.
Nowadays, the Sassi are used like houses, alleys, stone churches, terraces, gardens and tunnels.
Anyway, they are divided into two parts.
First, The Sasso Barisano, the largest district, whose houses are now shops, restaurants and hotels.
Second, The Sasso Caveoso, considered the oldest neighborhood that best preserves the appearance of the cave town.
This area has been preserved from the Paleolithic era to nowadays and therefore shows the way of life in the caves, even if new houses were built nearby.
As a result, the Stones are a destination for fascinated travelers thanks to its unique scenery.
However, because of the bad sanitary conditions and overcrowding in the caves, in the years ‘50s-‘60s the Sassi were considered “national shame”. Therefore the houses were abandoned and became ruins.
Luckily, later in the ’90s, interventions of recovery began and Matera returned to shine again!
Since 1993, it has also been declared Unesco’s World Heritage.
Sextantio – Le grotte della Civita in Matera
This structure in Matera represents the perfect getaway for lovers of history and natural landscape.
First of all, the ideal approach to conserving the interiors brings to the result that there has been minimum intervention to the interiors themselves.
The Grotte della Civita has 18 Cave Rooms, each one is different and has its own charme. There are also a Reception and the Rock Church named “Cripta della Civita” that is a breakfast or exclusive dinner room. Everything is located in the most ancient Sassi area overlooking the Murgia National Park.
As I have already said, the project’s aim is preserving the integral conservation of the site and its religious and daily use.
In this way, the cave shows itself at its best: lights are hidden, no television inside, the bathtub is minimalist, forniture is made of recycled materials.
Local food experience in a unique spot
Breakfast is served in the XIII Century Church. Now it’s a deconsecrated church, lit solely by candles and a fireplace, with background classical music. In fact, the scenery here is very evocative.
Due to this, this magical place can also be rent for an exclusive dinner or for events.
Obviously the food served is local, and if you are interested there is also the possibility to make cooking courses. Consequently it’s perfect for learning the ancient art of handmade pasta and discovering authentic traditional Lucanian recipes with an expert Chef.
As you can see below, even at breakfast you could find focaccia, salty and sweet home made cakes, fruits of the day, local cheese and ham… Actually the best way to start the day!
Here you can directly book your stay and having this unique experience in Matera, too!
Least but not last, the same concept of this place is to be found in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, in Abruzzo. Therefore you can sleep inside a medieval hill village located among the mountains. Due to the fact that during the last century people in here were poor and left the town searching for work, the original architecture has been preserved from modernisation.
Maybe this abandonment saved the town from architectural abuse.
As a result, history has been saved and sleeping inside this place could reveal a unique experience, too!