Matera (Basilicata) is a town of 60.351 inhabitants, located 401 meters above sea level in the homonymous province, its territory covers an area of 388,10 sq km.
Matera and the Sassi.
Matera is a unique and fascinating city, is set against a ravine in which were dug deep into the rock caves that were the old houses.
These are called Sassi of Matera, That have inspired poets and writers such as Carlo Levi in his novel "Christ stopped at Eboli", and have been declared by UNESCO "World Heritage Site".
The "Sassi" are divided into two parts: Sasso Barisano north and the Caveoso south, separated from each other by a rock.
Together with the city built has always lived a city carved, but with different uses over the centuries of the partly excavated, depending mainly of various historical and economic events.
Are so luck chapels, churches, basilicas rock along with convents, laure, asceteri carved into the rock.
Matera is also known as the "city of stone", because of the peculiarities and uniqueness of its historical center.
Excavated and built behind the Gravina di Matera, A deep gorge that divides the country into two, the Sassi of Matera, Neighborhoods that constitute the old part of the city, relax in two valleys, looking east, slightly subject than the surrounding areas, separated by the rocky spur of Civita.
This enviable position, have naturally made the city invisible to his enemies for thousands of years, allowing it to pass almost unscathed through centuries of history.
Il Sasso Barisano, Turned to the northwest edge of the cliff, if we take as reference the Civita, The center of the old town, is the richest and friezes carved portals that hide the underground heart.
Il Caveoso, Looking instead to the south, it is arranged like a Roman amphitheater, with the cave dwellings which descend in terraces, and perhaps takes its name from the quarries and classical theaters.
At the center of the Civita, Rocky outcrop that separates the two "Sassi", on top of which are the Cathedral and the palaces.
Together they form the ancient urban center of MateraThe UNESCO cultural landscape.
I Sassi of Matera have a settlement resulting from various forms of civilization and human activity occurred over time.
From the prehistoric villages entrenched the Neolithic period, the habitat of the eastern civilization rock matrix (IX-XI century), which is the substratum of the urban "Sassi", with its walkways, canals, tanks; civitas from a western Norman-Swabian (XI-XIII century), with its fortifications, the successive expansions Renaissance (XV-XVI century) and Baroque city accommodation (XVII-XVIII century); and finally degradation social hygiene of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century to the displacement arranged with national law in the fifties, to the current recovery started from the law of 1986.
The choice of this site, although it has guaranteed extreme safety village, has led to its inhabitants huge shortages of water.
In fact, the "Sassi" are located on a huge bench calcarenitic about 150 meters above the river, while the clay hills that surround the west appear to be too far away, for a city that built a view of the siege , was to ensure the autonomy inside.
Since the early days, therefore, its residents concentrated their energies not so much on the construction of the houses, as the excavation of tanks and divers and related systems of water canals.
Seen in this light Matera It turns out to be one of the oldest and best preserved examples of bio-architecture in the world.
A brief analysis of settlement built around water, shows how virtually all civilizations and building traditions the oldest in the world, have a lot in common, although centuries and kilometers to see as separate items.
A keen eye, seemingly simple and rudimentary structures are revealed as the prodigies of technical efficiency.
The humble archaic techniques, forgotten by the inhabitants themselves, buy a charm and a value once unimaginable.
The troglodytes digging canals and tanks, build roof gardens, and around the public spaces, today called neighborhoods share their resources, appear suddenly of human genius.
All this is still present and alive before our eyes in a city, Matera, Almost magical.
Matera, With its landmarks, its traditions and various events held throughout the year, it has a cultural rather wide and varied.
The city has also joined the "Association of the city of art and culture" and was the first city in the world to be recognized "cultural landscape".
European Capital of Culture 2019
Candidate in 2008, Matera He has been designated as the 17 2014 October European Capital of Culture 2019.
It is the first city in southern Italy to receive this appointment, obtained after entry into a shortlist that included applications from 5 other Italian cities (Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia, Ravenna, and Siena).
The verdict was announced by Steve Green, president of the International Jury selection consists 13 members (six Italian and seven foreigners), to Minister of heritage and cultural activities and tourism (Mibact); the slogan chosen by Matera for his candidacy was "Open Future".
The Italian text is taken from: