matera770 162

Matera, the Unesco Stones

They’ll stand out, all of a sudden after you have crossed the wavy wheat stretches interrupted by lines of olive trees: they are the very famous “Stones of Matera”, an amazing landscape made of curvy streets, wide staircases, narrow ways that go up towards the overlapping houses so that the terraces are bordered with underlying roofs. All around, tuff caves shining in the sun, hidden corners, palaces and churches that were excavated in the rock of a deep canyon as well as their decorating elements, the pillars, the columns, the apsis and the domes.

 A world on its own, a unique urban frame where you can walk around or take the car in some areas if you like that offers inimitable views over the two hollows of Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, divided by the spur on the top of which the Cathedral is located. It was built in 1230 on the top of town and features a perfect Roman-Pugliese architectonical style and a very elegant central rose window. Actually Matera doesn’t simply means its “stones”: the secrets of its charm are also represented by its Romanesque churches dating back to the XIIIth century and the Baroque ones dating back to the second half of the XVIIth century, the National Archaeological Museum that stigmatize the successful excavations and the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata that enables to go deep into the works by Carlo Levi, the author of the novel from which the movie “Cristo si è fermato a Eboli” (Christ stopped at Eboli) took inspiration. Matera’s palaces are even more interesting starting with palazzo Lanfranchi, featuring an asymmetric façade dating back to the XVIIth century – because of the Bishop’s will to incorporate the older cloister and the church of Carmine into the new building -, then going on with the palace of Sedile – built in 1540 for the Council gatherings featured by its huge arch sided by two bell towers – and followed by the palace of Annunziata featuring amazing arcades and a roof garden looking out on an amazing panoramic position.

 Regarding open door spaces, we suggest you to visit the Historical Archaeological Park of the Rocky churches, beyond the most common routes, thirty kilometres from Matera, one of the most spectacular landscape of Italy featured by a soft rock crossed by a number of deep cracks that draw up the cliffs, canyons and caves. And the churches too; they are everywhere: there could be round a hundred and fifty according to the last published data, the most of which dating back to the VIIIth and the IXth century. 

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

Web content manager
All Rights Reserved

Perhaps you can be interested in...:

▶ destination Italy
▶ Italy of art cities
▶ italian dream
▶ Italy of regions
▶ studying italian