Matera, the Most Spectacular City in Italy
History, romance, adventure, Matera has got it all. All over Italy, the hills are dotted with picturesque hilltop towns and castles, but nothing compares to the beauty of Matera. Imagine traveling back in time and walking along the cobblestone streets and revel in the stark vision of the ancient city that dates back 9,000 years. It comes to no surprise as to why it’s hailed as the European Capital of Culture 2019 by UNESCO. As one of the oldest cities in the world, the entirety of it looks like it’s been carved from stone. And as each house lights up a spectacular hue of orange at sundown, the historical city turns into the most romantic place I’ve ever visited.
Matera might be a familiar sight as movies like Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” was filmed here. But there is more to this city than just being a famous movie set, the limestone cave dwellings called “Sassi” dates back to the Paleolithic Period. In one of the caves near here, bones of a 150,000-year old hominid were found. And the entire city itself is known to be continually inhabited up to this day. “Man came here and never left,” is what the locals often boast.
What once was a city forgotten and considered an off the beaten track travel destination is now starting to gain traction. Now is definitely the perfect time to visit before throngs of tourists start clamoring the age-old streets. For such a small city, I can guarantee you, each nook and cranny is as photogenic as ever. You’ll never get tired of walking up and down the cobblestone steps and if you need to take a break, there is an abundance of quaint restaurants and bars at every turn.
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