Wow. We have really been productive so far. And we’ll keep the ball rolling with a visit to Matera. It was about a 3 hour drive from Pompeii, but really easy. Good roads. No windy mountain passes or anything. And plenty of services along the way.
Matera is one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world dating back nearly 10,000 years.
Matera includes the Sassi area, a complex of cave dwellings
carved into the mountainside. Evacuated in 1952 due to poor living conditions, like malaria. The Sassi now houses museums and rock churches, but as you can see indicated by a line of drying clothes there are still plenty of homes that are inhabited.
Across from the city is Murgia National Park. It’s these Paleolithic caves that paved the way for the city. The cave dwellings and rock churches on this side of the ravine are just as spectacular.
Getting there is easy, until you reach the very modern town that is. Getting down to the Sassi areas can be quite complicated when driving.
We parked at the castle and walked in because of the ZTL’s. This is really the only way to get to the town if you’re in a vehicle.
It’s an easy walk and once you’re on the other side of the modern town it’s a complete transformation. Instantly you know you’re in the, “Matera from the pictures”.
Around the Sassi
A view of Murgia from the city
We wandered around the narrow roads of the Sassi for a bit and decided to head over to the national park. We really enjoyed being at the park and exploring the caves. Even if I still freak out and tell the children, and Dad, not to get too close to the edge!
And on our way out we were met with these guys, kinda funny! I don’t know if I have ever seen a cow bell actually attached to said cow before 🙂