While reading about Matera and looking forward to visit it, I had this image in my head, that all of Matera are the Sassi – in my head the Sassi of Matera more or less were located in the middle of nowhere with nothing else around them. Even that I knew Matera is the capital of the province of Matera. One of two provinces in Basilicata.
So I was quite surprised to arrive in a modern city. It seems like there are three „parts“, the ancient city (Sassi), the old Medieval – Renaissance city (above the Sassi) and modern Matera.
Matera is a very alive and creative, a city of our times, a bearer of a culture that thrives on contemporary events and ancient history. Many are the symbols and the churches of Matera built between the thirteenth and nineteenth century, largely inspired by the echoes of baroque architecture; yet, the oldest are St. John , St. Dominic and the Duomo with an intense influences of the Apulian-Romanesque culture. This shows that while there were laure (ancient Byzantine shelters) and the caves, Matera developed a parallel civilised life open to relations with neighboring populations. (Matera 2019)
I didn´t make it to the modern city (except the area around the train station) but enjoyed a walk (and some gelato) through the old town.