One day in Matera: European Capital of Culture 2019

Basilicata #luogoideale

Now a vibrant city thanks to tourism and announced as the European Capital of Culture for 2019, Matera was once known as ‘the shame of Italy’. Until the 1950s it was a place of great poverty, where diseases like malaria remained a threat. Such a place was a real disgrace for post WWII Italy and so the Italian government took the decision to remove all Matera’s citizens from their traditional homes and relocate them to a brand new area of the city just outside the centre. Those shameful caves where people had been living for thousands of years suddenly became empty.

They remained abandoned for decades but then a number of citizens decided to go back and restore the Sassi (literally ‘stones’). Was it a good idea? Definitely! In 1993 Matera became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was described as ‘the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte…

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