I Sassi di Matera

Matera   has gained international fame for its ancient town, the "Sassi di Matera"  (meaning "stones of Matera"). The Sassi originated in a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, and these dwellings are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in what is now Italy. The Sassi are habitations   dug into the calcareous  rock itself, which is characteristic of Basilicata and Apulia. Many of them are really little more than caverns, and in some parts  of the Sassi   a street  lies on top of another  group of dwellings. The ancient  town grew up on one slope of the rocky ravine created by a river  that  is now a small  stream,  and  this  ravine  is known locally as "la Gravina". In the 1950s, the government of Italy used force to relocate most  of the population of the Sassi   to areas  of the developing modern city. Until the late 1980s the Sassi was  considered an area  of poverty, since its dwellings were, and in most cases still are,  uninhabitable. The present  local administration, however, has become more tourism-oriented, and it has promoted the regeneration of the Sassi  with the aid of the Italian government, UNESCO, and Hollywood. Today there are many thriving businesses, pubs, and hotels there.

Le Chiese Rupestri

Matera has a large number of chapels and churches. While this is not uncommon in Italy not many  places in the country have such a large  and extensive  collection of religious  buildings.  Many scholars believe that the earliest churches used for praying were the ones that had been erected in this region  of Matera.  List of the Rupestrian   churches:  S. Pietro  in Principibus, Madonna  della Croce, Cripta del Peccato Originale, Parco dei Monaci,   Vitisciulo  e S. Luca,  Madonna  delle Virtù, S. Lucia alle Malve, S.Maria  de Idris, Convicinio di S. Antonio, S. Barbara, S. Maria  della valle or La Vaglia.


Ridola Museum - Via Ridola, 24:  established the February  9, 1911, originated thanks to the donation to the State of the collection of archaeological artifacts, collected by Senator  Ridola,  during his research. The first nucleus  of the Museum was located in the 17th-century former convent  of the Poor Clares and contained materials  from the Palaeolithic to the bronze age, and displayed in wooden display cases.
Museo Nazionale d'Arte Medievale e Moderna della Basilicata - Piazza Pascoli, 1 (at Palazzo Lanfranchi): opened on 6 may, 2003 at the palazzo Lanfranchi in Matera, the National Museum of medieval and modern art of Basilicata is divided into three sections. The first stone collects paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, silver and frescoes from around the region. Are more than 100 works of art displayed in this section made from a period that goes from the middle ages to the eighteenth century.
MUSMA-Palazzo Pomarici,  Rione Sassi: the Museum  of contemporary   sculpture-Matera, original'cave Museum is run  by the cooperativa Synchronos   by 2011,  is inserted  in the picturesque  setting  of the seventeenth-century Palazzo Pomarici. A unique Museum for the perfect symbiosis between the sculptures  and  some of the most characteristic places carved  in the heart  of the Sassi: the Museum spaces, in fact, cover not only the areas  of the building,  but also the vast  tombs excavated,  where the works of art on display are regenerated by the suggestion and the strength of Rocky environments.


The Cathedral

The Cathedral The Cathedral or the Duomo was built in 1268 and is one of the most important monuments in the area. The Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria della Bruna and was built in the Romanesque-Apulian architectural style. The Duomo has a tall bell tower and close to the gates can be seen a statue of Maria della Bruna along with statues of Saints Peter and Paul. The highlight of the building is the beautiful rose window, which is divided into sixteen small columns. The decoration of the cathedral dates back to the 18th century when it had been restored in the Baroque style. A beautiful fresco of the Last Judgment, done in the Byzantine style and from the 14th century, was also discovered in the cathedral.

The Tramontano Castle

The Tramontano Castle,  begun in the early  16th century  by Gian Carlo Tramontano, Count of Matera, is probably the only other structure that  is above ground of any  great  significance outside of the  sassi. However, the construction remained  unfinished after his assassination in the popular  riot of 29 December 1514.  It has three large towers, while twelve were probably included in the original design. During some restoration work in the main square  of the town,  workers came across what  was  believed to be the  main  footings of another castle tower. However, on further excavation large Roman  cisterns were unearthed.  Whole house structures   were discovered where one can see how the people of that era lived. Found under the main square of the modern city was a large underground reservoir, complete with  columns and a vaulted ceiling..

Il Palombaro

The  largest  cistern has been found under Piazza  Vittorio Veneto. With its solid pillars carved from the rock and a vault height of more than fifteen meters, it is a veritable water cathedral, which is navigable by boat. Like other cisterns in the town, it collected rainwater  that  was filtered and flowed in a controlled way to the Sassi.Built in 1846 at the behest of Mons.  A. Di Macco.

The  tank,  15  meters deep and containing about 5,000 cubic meters of water, was part of an ingenious water collection system formed by a complex Web of canals,  caves, tunnels, underground tanks, to recover rainwater, and the waters of the groundwater in the vicinity  of the Castle Tramontano upstream.

La Casa Grotta

The   House  describes the  living conditions in the Sassi before their forced abandonment  from of the peasants. It was inhabited until 1957 by a family  of 11 people (plus the animals),  consists of one room, partially excavated and partly built, furnished with furniture and vintage

gear.  There  is the kitchen, the bed with the mattress  stuffed with corn leaves, the small table with one dish in the center from which all were eating, the Chamber   pot used to bodily needs, the frame for spinning, the area with the manger for the Mule, the cavity in which it collects the manure used to warm up , the cistern where rainwater  was conveyed through a system of canals.

CASA NOHA del Fai - Viaggio nell'anima di Matera

Thousands of years of history written  in a friable and porous rock such as Tuff: Home Noha not only tell the life of an ancient dwelling but those are transformed in a related story, from prehistory to nowadays. The invisible Sassi. Amazing journey in the history of Matera, edited by Giovanni  Carrada, offers to the visitors, thanks to the contribution of the Foundation Telecom Italy, an immersive  experience that combines new technology and  culture and which through rare documents and unpublished shows the first  complete reconstruction of the city's  history from different perspectives, from architecture to art history,  from archaeology to history of cinema. Leaving Home Noha the journey continues on the app Invisible Matera.


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Piazzetta S. Pietro Barisano, 5/6
75100 Matera