After Jericho and Aleppo, Matera in Basilicata, Southern Italy is the third oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Its first citizens where prehistoric troglodytes, who, over the years, upgraded their cave dwellings with frontages. A series of cisterns were employed to capture rainwater in this dry valley. The city grew into the Sassi which you see in these pictures. Condemned by the government in the 1950s, which meant forced evictions, investors are breathing life back into this ancient city. Cafes, churches, BnBs and restaurants now occupy some of these breathtaking and unique buildings. And, unsurprisingly, film directors flock here – watch out for scenes in the next James Bond film.
For more on Matera’s programme for its year as the European Capital of Culture, click here.
Have you been to Matera? If so, what did you think? If not, have we inspired you?