|Daybreak in the Sasso Barisano, Matera, Basilicata,|
"Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the "Sassi di Matera" (meaning "stones of Matera"). The Sassi originate from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. The Sassi are houses dug into the rock itself. Many of these "houses" are really only caverns, and the streets in some parts of the Sassi often are located on the rooftops of other houses. In the 1950s, the government of Italy forcefully relocated most of the population of the Sassi to areas of the developing modern city. However, people continued to live in the Sassi, and according to the English Fodor's guide: 'Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago.'"
|the landscape around Matera|
|An idealized version of life inside a Sassi home, where ten people might live. Beds were made in and on top of cupboards.|
|recreation of life inside a Sassi home|
|a view of the Sasso Caveoso and several churches.|
|Path down to the hotel|
|In contrast: a view of the modern piazza|
|If you saw the movie The Passion of the Christ, this street might look familiar.|
Even though it was a challenge to get to Matera, it was well worth the effort to witness this unique and ancient village. Like the trulli of Alberobello, it was interesting to get a glimpse of what life might have been like living in these unusual structures that served as homes for many.