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.
Museo laboratorio della civiltà contadina - Via S. Giovanni Vecchio. - Via S. Giovanni Vecchio.
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
E' situato su una collinetta, chiamata collina di Lapillo, sovrastante il centro storico della città di Matera. In stile aragonese, il castello, con un maschio centrale e due torri laterali rotonde, smerlate e dotate di feritoie, fu fatto costruire a partire dal 1501 dal conte Gian Carlo Tramontano, feudatario di Matera. Il nuovo re di Napoli, Ferdinando II, aveva promesso ai materani di non cedere più la città ad alcun feudatario, dopo che questa si era già liberata più volte dal giogo feudale pagando diversi riscatti per restare città libera ad autonomo reggimento, cioè dipendente direttamente dalla Corona reale. Invece il conte Tramontano, che vantava crediti nei confronti dell'Erario reale, chiese ed ottenne la Contea di Matera nel 1496.
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 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
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.