In 2019, the city of Matera located in the Mezzogiorno, southern part of Italy, has been selected as European Cultural Capital of the year. Rich in history and culture, the town of 60,000 inhabitant is known for its troglodyte houses.
In the 1950s Matera was considered “the shame of Italy” by Italian politicians because of the “Sassi” – cave dwellings carved into the mountain without running water, electricity or sewers. Today, they are the jewels of the region, designated World Heritage by UNESCO in 1993.
Since the announcement of the selection, the city saw a 173% increase in the number of visitors. The various activities organized by the city for 2019 - 300 concerts, shows, exhibitions, workshops or conferences - will certainly continue to boost tourism throughout the year.
After discovering the city and its various monuments, visitors can enjoy the Archeological and Natural History Park of the Murgia, where they can admire a thriving flora and fauna. The park is also home to remains of Neolithic villages, graveyards and about 150 rock-hewn churches.
The opportunity for future visitors to discover the charm of rural italy, away from bustling cities.
Photo Credit : Shutterstock / Ermess