Basilicata is a minuscule southern region, occupied for the most part by mountains that in places reaches two seas: the Tyrrhenian Sea for a short section of its coast line, and the Ionian Sea on the other side. It is one of the poorest regions in Italy but it boasts a piece of prehistory in the contemporary world: “The Sassi“. They are located at Matera, the second main city of Basilicata, and UNESCO, the UN organization that deals with culture, science and culture, has proclaimed it to be an “heritage of humanity“.
The “caves of Matera” are one of the most peculiar, ancient and unusual human settlements in the world, which have drawn the attention of scholars and artists from all over the world. The Italian writer Carlo Levi spoke of the Sassi in his famous book “Christ stopped at Eboli”.
Here in the “caves”, the houses have been dug out of the tufa rock and the walls constructed with the excavated material. Occupied until recently, the “caves” are now empty and have become the object of projects of cultural and tourist revaluation and renovation.
In addition to a visit to the “caves of Matera“, that is a truly unique experience, there are other reasons to come to this small, secluded, and beautiful region boarded by two seas: the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian.
In Basilicata there are Greek ruins (Eatonton), medieval churches and castles (Mali, Lagopesole), beautiful beaches ( Maratea), and unspoiled countryside, as Basilicata shares the splendid park of the Pollino with Calabria.
And Matera does not only have its “caves”: the remarkable blend of Romanesque and Baroque styles in the Church of S. Francesco, for example, is also fascinating.
In the regional capital, Potenza, even if ancient and recent earthquakes have seriously damaged the historic center, the archaeological museum merits a visit.
Finally, why not plan a visit to Venosa, birthplace of the great and wise Latin poet Horace?
Here, among other attractions, it is possible to admire the medieval Abbey of SS. Trinita’ and other interesting monuments.
Where to stay in Matera
Hotels, apartments, B&Bs and villas can be searched and reserved here.