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Matera: the Rock Sanctuary of the South Italy

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If you visit Bari, Lecce or Naples we highly recommend you to go for a private Italy car service tour to a real pearl of Italian history and culture Matera.

The scenery, at first glance, looks like that of the Holy Land. But this place is located in Italy, precisely, in Basilicata. The evocative Sassi, immortalized in numerous historical and religious films, have granted to Matera the recognition of the European capital of culture 2019.

The caves, the white color of the rocks, the vegetation and the typical buildings create a natural cinematographic set. The Regional archaeological park of the rock churches, with a strong spirituality that is impossible not to perceive during the visit, has been recognized as Unesco heritage in 1993. There are 150 of them scattered in the caves of the Sassi or in the old houses. Priceless frescoes can still be found here. This is the place where the  architecture and the nature merge crating very a particular archaic and mystical atmosphere that transmits peace and serenity. A perfect moment to stay silent enjoying the beauty that organically combines the energy of the earth, the power of the space and the spirit of the creation.

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit the Crypt of the Original Sin, in Pietrapenta, called the Sistine Chapel of Basilicata and also known as “Grotta dei Cento Santi”. It is a precious example of art spirituality enclosed in a grotto that has become a 42-square-meter church, which has undergone a great restoration work. From the great panel of Genesis, a figured representation of the authentic Bible for the faithful who could not read, to the splendid triarchies of the Apostles, the Archangels and the Virgin placed in the three apses. Another worthy stop in Matera is the rock complex of Madonna delle Virtù and San Nicola dei Greci. Spread over 1300 square meters and divided into several levels, the structure includes two frescoed rupestrian churches, a monastery and old houses with cisterns and feeders. In summer, contemporary art sculpture exhibitions take place here.

In the heart of the Sassi there is the Casa Cava, the symbol of the rebirth of the district that  from a forgotten village has become a cultural center. The view of the hypogeum is a unique experience that helps you appreciate the cultural heritage of Matera. Make another stop in  Casa Noha. Surrounded by the narrow streets of the Civita, a stone’s throw from the Duomo, the ancient residence allows visitors to understand the history of Matera through the multimedia journey that shows the town and its true spirit. The right place to visit before ending the tour is the Museum of contemporary sculpture, the only in the world located in a cave. The artworks bring you through the evolution of Italian and international sculpture from the late 1800s to nowadays. The works sculptures occupy three courtyards, seven caves dug in tuff and the Halls of Hunting located on the lower floor. The path of the upper floor winds through ten rooms. It’s kind of an original way to make the visitor experience the extraordinary integration of the secular environments excavated by man and the contemporary sculpture. For those who still have some time to stay in Matera it is recommended to visit the National Museum of Medieval Art inside the Palazzo Lanfranchi. The exhibition itinerary includes visiting the sections of the religious art, collections and contemporary art. You can admire a rich selection of paintings by Carlo Levi and a few works by Luigi Guerricchio here.

Tradition and innovation coexist and integrate in Matera becoming a symbol of a city of globally important values.


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