Panoramic view from San Pietro Caveoso
Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world. The ancient appearance of the city is influenced by the terrain. On the high hill surrounded by plains stands the Civita, with the Romanesque cathedral of Madonna della Bruna and noble houses. The city was surrounded by walls and towers. On the sides of the hill, two steep valleys of tufa stone were present, and it is precisely in this tufa that houses, stables, but also churches and convents were excavated. The historic center is located on a plateau. A rocky spur (the spur of Civita) divides the Sassi in two: the Sasso Barisano facing northeast and the Sasso Caveoso facing south. The underground houses carved into the rock are complex cave dwellings carved by humans: churches, houses, palaces, stairways, and balconies. Often, a road serves as the roof of the lower level houses.
Facts & Trivia
Thanks to its exceptional beauty and unique appearance, Matera has often been chosen as a film set for both national and international productions. Famous films such as Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Francesco Rosi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and Mary Magdalene, Catherine Hardwicke’s The Nativity Story, Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman and John Moore’s The Omen were filmed here.