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Report 1911: Travels in Sicily and Southern Italy

By Linda Hagstrom from Pennsylvania USA, Spring 2011

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Page 10 of 14: Wednesday April 6 - Matera, Basilicata

photo by Linda

Inside the newly-renovated cave directly below my apartment

Ah, Matera!

I loved my stay in this small city. The weather (after the storm clouds cleared) was wonderful, there was lots to see, and best of all was my nice apartment. Residenza San Giorgio owns apartments scattered about the sassi area. Mine was a one-bedroom with bath and best of all a kitchen. I could make a few meals, use the refrigerator, and feel very much at home. I had a terrace with a table and chairs too.

Matera turned out to be much more of a city than I had expected. In addition to the sassi area, up above is a wonderful small city with beautiful piazzas and pedestrian streets, an archaeological museum, excellent shopping, medieval churches, modern buildings and a castle. Matera is one of the main cities of the region of Basilicata.

The sassi, a plural word, are three adjoining hillsides in which dwellings have been dug out over the ages. The rock dug out was then used to add on to the front of each dwelling. In the 1950s, the government decided that this way of living was not good, and moved people out of the sassi and into modern dwellings. Recently many of the sassi have been renovated and used for tourists.

My apartment was not actually dug out of the hillside but was located above a very large room that had been excavated many hundreds of years ago (pictured).

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