You’re unlikely to ever have laid eyes on a town as extraordinary as Matera. Inhabited since the Neolithic age, it is not only one of the world’s most unusual it is also one of the oldest. Set at the hilt of the Murgia plateau overlooking the Gravina gorge, the town boasts Baroque churches and elegant palazzi with wide piazzas that hum with activity particularly in the evenings when the locals stroll the streets for their daily passeggiata.

But beneath the rugged mountain landscape and hustle and bustle of everyday life lies a sprawling labyrinth of underground caves and churches that very much resemble a giant termite mound. These sandy-coloured caves that spiral up towards a wobbling church that teeters at the top of the tumbling cluster of rock are known as the Sassi and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Nowadays, crumbling caves sit side by side with chic hotels and restaurants that have been lovingly restored allowing you to experience the atmosphere alongside the local cuisine, which features fresh oven-baked bread, traditional burrata cheese and a wide variety of home-made pasta washed down with Matera’s wonderful DOC wines.



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