Exploring Matera for the first time and falling in love with it for a lifetime
Exploring Matera. The city of Matera is one of the oldest and most beautiful Italian cities. It is located on a rocky outcrop in the Basilicata region. Matera hosts the Sassi area, filled with history and charm that attracts people from all over the world. It houses a series of cave houses carved into the mountainside and many 13th-century churches that are full of historical significance and visual appeal. With a history that extends back 30,000 years and opens around every corner, you will be overwhelmed with the amount there is to learn and marvel at in this fascinating city.
Matera has a variety of attractions to offer to an inquisitive, thirsty for the beauty eye, including breathtaking views, archeological sites, natural parks, delicious food, and more. This city has whatever it takes to be a world-class tourist destination.
Walk along the main road
Wander the streets of Sassi
Hike over to the Belvedere
Enjoy local food, wines, and goodies
Sassi di Matera: designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993
City of Matera: designated the 2019 European Capital of Culture.
Matera’s Murgia Park
The Natural and Historical Archaeological Park of the Rock-hewn churches, or Matera’s Murgia Park, extends over 8,000 hectares in the areas of Matera and Montescaglioso. In 1990, a regional law decreed the creation of the park to protect the particularly fascinating environment carved out by the ravines of Matera, Picciano, and the river Bradano. Matera’s Murgia Park is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites together with the Sassi of Matera.
In the park, you can find the most ancient traces of human settlements around Matera, as well as the remains of the Neolithic villages and graveyards. It also hosts several wonderful examples of rock art and culture, which are probably among the most remarkable ever documented. Do not miss this offbeat area if you plan to visit Matera.
Matera by Night
When the sun goes down, and the lights and streetlamps across the Sassi are on, the scenery is enchanting, mesmerizing, and breathtaking. The views are worth a thousand words and cannot be missed even if you feel tired after a day of walking and exploring the city.
Sculpture Park in Matera made of World Trade Center after 9/11
These abstract sculptures are located on the ancient archeological grounds in Matera and are known as “La Palomba” (the dove in English) Sculpture Park. This public garden sprawls over six hectares of an obsolete tufa stone quarry typical of the local geological landscape. The Apulian contemporary sculptor Marino Marini’s student, Antonio Paradiso (b. 1936), is at the origins of the sculptural park. Many of Paradiso’s sculpture installations are on display in the outdoor gallery. Visitors can access it year-round, alongside occasional exhibits of international artists.
La Palomba is located just outside Matera. Although the sculptures are right next to the main road, they are easy to miss unless you know how to look for them. The artwork is obscured from view, tucked out of sight in a defunct tuff quarry.
Probably the most intriguing works on display are those made of 20 tons of twisted metal, steel girders, and bars that were found in the rubble of the World Trade Center after 9/11. Antonio Paradiso was selected as the only Italian artist among the 9,000 candidates who applied for permission and opportunity to turn parts of the destroyed World Trade Center into public art. He even got a chance to personally choose which elements to use.
Know before you go
Free Parking (24h)
Address: Contrada Pedale della Palomba SS7, Matera
An absolutely delightful Marionettes Show in Matera
This passionate group of artists creates a terrific show. It is fascinating to watch it and explore the handwork made by the artists. At the end of the show, the puppeteers demonstrate their techniques to the audience. The show lasts for one hour, which is an ideal period to thoroughly enjoy the performance.
While everybody knows that puppetry is an ancient form of performance, did you know that there is evidence that they were used in Egypt as early as 2000 BC?
Mammamiaaa, a project in the “Roots and Routes” theme
What Mammamiaaa (with five ‘a’s) is? It is a celebration of food and relationships. Mammamiaaa reframes food culture as a connection to a place, and a bridge between the generations.
Anyone can join this community here
The meals are skillfully arranged for friends and family. You choose the recipe and define the number of guests, the time, and the place. Everything, from preparation to the meal itself, is recorded. Then, photos, videos, and voice recordings of your meal become a part of the great digital archive of Mammamiaaa.
It is a way to celebrate the role of women in creating meals, as well as collect and share how grandmothers, mothers, fathers, uncles, and children prepare, cook, and eat together.
Photo: U Paràt, the wall installation – every recipe becomes a ceramic tile and a part of the installation in the historical center of Matera.
Location: Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio, Matera.
We Thank you Matteo Diperno, citizen of Matera, who helped us exploring the city.