Matera was definitely the most unusual city in Italy. By remaining in its territory the rocky settlement of Sassi di Matera — the UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most important attractions of the South of Italy, Matera has gained international fame.
The Sassi di Matera presumably is considered to be one of the first settlements in Italy. Elegant and multifaceted dwellings, Sassi, carved into the limestone, known as tufa, interspersed with underground caves and labyrinths, forming a stunning landscape, typical of regions of Basilicata and Puglia. Settlement Sassi grew up on one of the slopes of the gorge formed by the river which is currently remained only a small stream. This gorge is known to the locals as La Gravina.
In 1950, the Italian government relocated most of the population of the Sassi di Matera in “new” Matera. But to this day rock city live. Now Sassi is probably the only place in the world where people live in houses their ancestors inhabited the area about 9 thousand years ago.
A better understanding of the origins of Matera can be learned by visiting the national Museum Domenico Ridola. The Museum was founded in 1911 and bears the name of one of the most respected citizens of the city. Domenico Ridola was a doctor and a Senator, loves antiquities. By the end of the 19th century he undertook a series of excavations, in which were discovered the settlements of the Paleolithic and Neolithic. On the basis of his research, he gathered a remarkable collection of archeological artifacts, which is maintained and updated by Museum staff. The Museum is open to visitors every day from 14:00 to 20:00; entry ticket is 2.50 EUR.