Friday, September 21, 2007

Matera

Matera, one of two provincial capitals of Basilicata, is the most famous place in Basilicata (not that it is very famous outside of Italy, but it should be!). It's probable that people have lived on the side of this ravine since pre-historic time. The people have (and now again do) live in houses carved out of the tufa- soft rock- in the side of the mountain, structures which are then embellished and built upon. There are something like 155 carved rock churches, many with frescos - with a decidedly Byzantine style (immigrants, you know). In the 1950s the government evacuated all the families living in I Sassi (the stones) as these rock-cut/cave dwellings are called, due to unhygenic living conditions. Long an embarrassment, these are slowly coming back, the history being re-claimed. They are being restored and many are hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, shops, and houses once again. We stayed in two such hotels--
Here's (our admittedly swank) first hotel room (Hotel Sant'angelo),

And the view through the door of our second hotel room,

A view of i sassi at night,

One of the frescos (most of the churches are dark and do not allow one to take photos) from San Nicola dei Greci,


View of i sassi,

2 Comments:

At 11:50 AM, Blogger leigh andrew said...

wow!! what a town!

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old and beautiful.

Some things get better with age.

Leigh, where are you these days?

 

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