Amazing! How else could you describe such an incredible place! Matera was the disgrace of Italy in the early 1950’s. Whilst the rest of Italy was enjoying the prosperity of the industrial revolution and a dramatic increase in living standards, Matera was overlooked with its very poor inhabitants still living with no modern services within caves in the side of a ravine. Fast forward to 2019 and it has been awarded the European Capital of Culture!
Giorgio had dropped us off late in the afternoon where we checked into our cave dwelling accommodation. Probably not to the same standards as back in the 1950’s, otherwise everyone would have wanted to live in caves! Fully renovated only a year ago our cave is an Architectural wonder, with the interior (well there is no exterior) decorated in a tasteful modern minimalism style. Best room ever!
We explored our side of the ‘Sassi’ before a memorable dinner enjoying tasty local food and wine before calling it a night!
We met Giorgio after a typical Italian breakfast of the region. Giorgio then gave us a tour of the other less developed ‘Sassi’ that contains empty caves in original condition. However with more money pouring into the Matera economy, more and more of the ‘Sassi’ is being redeveloped for tourism!
Matera has certainly left a mark on us as a very unique experience topped off with lovely accommodation, local regional foods and a great guide who was very informative without overloading us! As well as making our experience more personal and connected with the locals!
A couple of fun facts.
1. The new James Bond movie has scenes filmed in Matera with Daniel Craig’s final James Bond performance before bowing out for the new James Bond!
2. We just missed the Red Bull ‘Art of Motion’ just about to commence in a few days time in Matera. We got to witness some promo stunts being filmed whilst there. Google Red Bull and Matera for a teaser video. Worth watching! (And yes, I’m the one in the white t-shirt up to my usual antics)