Panoramic view of the “Sassi”
The Sassi of Matera is an extraordinary complex of houses and buildings carved into the ancient tuff stone, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The two rocks, Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso, branch off from the historic center with a succession of narrow streets, small houses, churches, and convents. They are the oldest part of the city and until the 18th century, they constituted almost the entirety of it. The city was inhabited and built with continuous contributions from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Baroque periods, until the 1950s when the population moved into new houses and the old city was abandoned. However, thanks to a recovery law, life has returned to flourish among the restored houses, galleries, and new accommodation facilities in the Sassi.
Facts & Trivia
Matera was made famous by the book Christ Stopped at Eboli and the paintings of Carlo Levi, who was sent into exile there during the Fascist period and described the miserable conditions of the population. Today, the city has emerged from the poverty of those years, and in the Sassi district, there are now restaurants, hotels, art galleries, and artisan shops. Especially during the summer months, the city is very lively. The night lighting makes it even more charming.