Things to Do in Matera
By: Liz Flynn
Located in Basilicata in southern Italy, Matera is the city of the province also called Matera. It was also formerly the capital of Basilicata. The city lies in a canyon in the Gravina. If you are visiting this UNESCO listed site, you will find a wide range of things to see and do during your stay.
Ancient Town- Sassi of Matera
To truly appreciate the history and culture of Matera, you should spend time in the Ancient Town. This section of the city has structures, homes, tunnels, gardens and terraces, all of which are carved out of stone in the caves of the Gravina Valley. There are examples of structures from the medieval era to the modern day.
Anyone interested in history, culture, religion and architecture should visit the rupestrian churches in the city. These date back to the Middle Ages and were dug into the rock of the Gravina and Murgia where the Benedictine and Byzantine monks had settled.
There are three main natural areas of Matera to visit; Colle Timmari, the Regional Reserve San Giuliano, and the Park of Murgia. At each of these, you can delight in your surroundings and enjoy the unusual flora and fauna. These settings are home to a wide range of wildlife and they are fantastic spots for birdwatching.
The cathedral in Matera is dedicated to the Madonna della Bruna and Sant’Eustachio. It was constructed originally in the 13th-century over the remains of a Benedictine monastery. The exterior of the cathedral is Romanesque and one of the most interesting features is a stunning rose window. Within the cathedral is the famous stone crib, created by Altobello Persio in 1534.
The Crypt of the Original Sin of Matera
Just outside of Matera you will find the wall of the Gravina di Picciano. It is here that the Crypt of the Original Sin is located. This is a church within a cave with frescoed ceilings and walls. It is decorated with examples of medieval paintings.
Musma Museum of Matera
The Museum features pottery, sculptures, medals, drawings, prints, jewelry, and books. Located on the Palazzo Pomeraci, the museum boasts work from artists such as Ortega, Hare, Manzu, Milani, Cascella and many others.