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The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera

Les Sassi et le Parc des églises rupestres de Matera

Matera, also known by the nickname of “another Bethlehem”, and his famous “Sassi”, is an outstanding example of human settlement perfectly adapted to its surroundings. Very ancient are the dwellings carved into the tuff with roofs that become floors for housing the upper levels. The territory has been inhabited since the Paleolithic, when the first settlements were established in the caves of the limestone mountain, and has been perpetuated over the centuries with various adaptations to different historical periods. Among the main areas is the Civita district, a natural fortress in the heart of the ancient city that is the most fascinating part of the “city of stone” with the Romanesque cathedral. The Sasso Caveoso preserves almost intact the dwellings carved into the rock. Along Via Madonna of the Virtues you get to the Sasso Barisano that houses a reconstruction of the miniature of the Sassi and the Museum of Country Life. Not to be missed are the Rock Churches of Matera; there are the Church of San Pietro Barisano, the Church of Saint Lucia of the Malve, the rocky complex of Convicinio of St. Anthony, the churches of Santa Maria de Idris and San Giovanni, the Church of Santa Barbara with its splendid frescoes, and finally, the rock complex of the Madonna of the Virtues and San Nicola dei Greci. Many more are the places of worship scattered throughout the surrounding area, as well as numerous settlements from the Paleolithic as the Cave of the Bats and ruins of the Neolithic, such as ceramics of Diana Bellavista and Serra d’Alto.

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