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“Matera is breathtaking”
Review of Matera

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Level 3 Contributor
4 reviews
14 helpful votes
“Matera is breathtaking”
Reviewed 8 April 2008

Matera is an amazing place. It's so ancient that filmakers & historians feel it is what Old Jerusalem may have looked like - Mel Gibson's recent film The Passion used Matera as a real-life film set (there are a few signed photos around in cafes!) I

Modern Matera is fairly ordinary but as our taxi swept round the corner from the train station and down to the old city (the "Sassi") the view was just breathtaking. I'm glad we stayed in the "Sassi" (it means stone) old part of Matera because it was so peaceful and beautiful at night.

The city is slowly being restored. It has been designated a World Heritage Site and now funds are available to help preserve it. It was a slum area for years with generations living there in poverty in the cave dwellings (visit the tiny museum showing how they lived - it's fascinating!). It was only quite recently, in the 1950s, that the government moved the poplulation out and into better quality housing with running water & electricity. It seems that the city then slowy started to just rot away. Now, enterprising people are moving back in and doing up the unique properties . We stayed in a lovely hotel - Hotel Sant'Angelo. We went to Matera in October and the weather was warm & comfortable. I think its a long-weekend destination rather than a week's holiday.

5 Thank Emmylou123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
14 helpful votes
“place to see before you die”
Reviewed 16 September 2007

most amazing place..one of our top 5 Italy
world heritage sight

3 Thank sflovetotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cape town
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
11 helpful votes
“An italian secret”
Reviewed 1 February 2007

Arriving during the siesta after a train trip from bari, carrying our heavy backpacks.We entered the first coffee bar and were overwhelmed with free espresso, genuine interest and even an offer to help carry our packs to the Youth hostel at Hotel Sassi. The sister of the hotel owner proceeded to guide us down into the unbelievably scenic old town where we stayed in the hollowed out domed rooms of the budget section.We discovered the fresh food market,explored the old and new town, and heard all about the sad history from the sassi museum owner. The old city has become a movie location [the passion of the Christ, etc] but what we enjoyed was the novelty of very few tourists, the hospitality and the exitement when people found out that we were from South Africa.....the S A forces liberated the region in 1944 after landing at Taranto.After 4 days we had to catch a train to get to the toe of Italy and theAeolian islands....passing through the most scenic area straight out of achilds story book..unspoiled by mass tourism.

3 Thank christien
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
1 review
30 helpful votes
“Drifted into town and was captured by it's uniqueness”
Reviewed 27 June 2006

It seems like every trip to Italy brings my wife and I some new thrilling experience. We drove out of Metaponto with our traveling companions ( all the couples are from Texas) and with a little insight from our guide book, headed carefree toward the ancient town of Matera. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! (...as Gomer Pyle would say...). What a great and
mysteriously unique place. We drove into town and down toward the Old Town. We basicly wandered the streets. Up, down, around, dead end, up and around again. It was mid-afternoon when an elderly lady stepped out on her porch, and waved us toward the small courtyard she was standing in. Asking if we'd like something to eat, we followed her inside. La Zuppa Del Re is a first rate eating establishment. It's four levels of decending caves with the old wine pressing area in the bottom cave pugnant with the sweet odor of thousands of years of grape stomping. I would recommend anyone traveling in southern Italy, take the time to look back into time. Oh, and did you realize...Matera was the site selected by the producers of the "Passion of the Christ" as looking more like Jeruselm, than Jeruselm looks. There is more than one photo of Mel Gibson on the walls in and around Matera. See for yourself.

30 Thank Excursion13346
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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