One of the most ancient inhabited cities in the world, Matera is unlike anywhere else. The views over the gravina, a ravine atop which the old stone houses were built, are awe-inspiring and it feels like time has stood still among the sassi – cave homes carved into the rocks which have been used as homes for centuries, and are sometimes still inhabited today.
Matera got a boost when it became a world heritage site in 1993, and another when it starred as Jerusalem in Mel Gibson’s controversial The Passion of the Christ in 2004. In fact, filmmakers can’t resist it – the 25th Bond movie No Time To Die (released next year) is the latest blockbuster to be filmed here.
In 2019 as European Capita of Culture, the city’s artistic venues hosted extra exhibitions, concerts and workshops, outdoor performances and guided walks. Five giant bronze Salvador Dalí reproductions dotted around town, including a melting clock; they accompany a Dalí exhibition at the frescoed Chiesa di Madonna delle Virtù and Chiesa di San Nicola dei Greci.
The journey from Trullo Adagio is approximately 1 1/2 hrs drive but is well worth it.