A UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Touring Matera is like experiencing a forgotten past - you feel as though you are setting foot in a nativity scene when you visit this charming city in Lucania. It’s no coincidence it’s referred to as the second Bethlehem, and was the setting for Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion, and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel Accord-ing to St. Matthew). In the 1950’s when the inhabitants who lived in the grottos dug out of the mountain were forced to abandon those dwellings to settle in modern districts, no one would have ever thought that those grottos - the Sassi - would have become the symbol of a reborn city. UNESCO added the Sassi of Matera to its list of World Heritage Sites in 1993, as a whole and millennial way of life to be preserved and handed down to our descendents. In fact, it was recognized as a model for living harmoniously with the environment while integrating with it and taking advantage of resources without disturbing the environment.