PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
Situated in the little-known southern region of Basilicata, Matera remains relatively unknown to Italy’s visitors. This unique city is one of the oldest in the country, and is best-known for its fascinating UNESCO-honoured sassi; an ‘old town’, but unlike any other you’ll come across. This sprawl of stone houses and caves is pre-historic, believed to have been the homes of Italy’s first settlers (around 9,000 years ago). Today, the sassi districts have a village-like feel with a mix of homes, cafes, hotels and even art galleries hiding inside the caves.
Matera’s newer development has its own charm and history, with a mix of smart piazzas, Benedictine churches and museums (try the contemporary sculpture museum, Museo della Scultura Contemporanea). Basilicata is distinctive for its ravines and hills, which in Matera are cut with old rock churches, mostly in the Byzantine style and all incredibly atmospheric.