Tourist attractions in Italy : Matera
A private tour of Matera and Basilicata area is perfect for lovers of off the beaten path itineraries, add this tourist attractions in your Italian Vacation.
If you want to see something a little bit different, a little bit curious, be tempted by visiting Matera province!
Matera is located in the Basilicata region in southern Italy. The village of Matera owns famous houses named "Sassi" (underground living). These Sassi of Matera have been declared as a world heritage site by the UNESCO in 1993. UNESCO listed it as one of the 195 world wonders. Matera is considered as a very ancient town, because its caves were first occupied during the Paleolithic Age.
The ancient town ( Sassi of Matera) is worth to visit because of its special underground houses built in the rock. 60 years ago about 15 000 people lived in these houses, but in 1952 it became forbidden to live here for hygienic reasons. You can still visit these particular houses, and walk through the narrow streets and stairs of the village. The village with its unique appearance that reminds a little bit of Middle East villages had been chosen to film Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ.
After the visit of the ancient town, you can explore a little bit the natural park nearby the town and enjoy the landscape of the region. Matera's Murgia Park is a natural and archeological park that offers to visitor small traces of human settlement from Neolithic Era, churches with rupestrian painting and several other underground houses.
Matera region also offers other interesting villages to discover. For example, the village of Miglionico located a few kilometers from Matera has between other nice monuments a massive medieval castle built around 1100, the Castle of the Bad Council ( Castello del Malconsiglio). Or 20 kilometers south of Matera you can visit the town of Montescaglioso and its nice abbey : the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo.