Departure: Formia - Caserta - Nola
Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world whose territory holds evidence of human settlements starting from the Paleolithic and without interruption until today. It represents an extraordinary page written by man through the millennia of this long history.Matera is the city of the Sassi, the original urban nucleus, developed from the natural caves carved into the rock and subsequently modeled in increasingly complex structures within two large natural amphitheaters that are the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano.In 1993 the UNESCO declares the Sassi of Matera World Heritage Site. The Sassi of Matera are the 6th site in Italy in chronological order, the first in the south. the occasion of this inscription, for the first time UNESCO uses in its criteria and motivations the concept of Cultural Landscape, which will later be used to motivate the registration of other sites in the world. On 17 October 2014 Matera was designated European Capital of Culture for 2019. Matera is at the center of an incredible rock landscape that preserves a great heritage of culture and traditions, and is home to exhibitions of great national and international prestige. Mattera is a city of fascinating and complex history: border town, of contrasts, of competition and fusion of landscapes, civilizations, cultures, different. From the rock civilization to those of Byzantine and Eastern origin, to the advent of the Normans, the systematic attempt to reduce the rock city to the rules of the culture of the European city: from the Romanesque to the Renaissance, to the Baroque, the last eight centuries of construction and finishing of the city have tried to shape, overcome the natural resistance of the pre-existing rock habitat, determining architectures and urban arrangements of particular quality and originality.Today, again in the sign of European urban culture, aspects of the challenge of redevelopment, sustainable recovery, reconquest of the lost identity are the activities that have brought to the fore this unique city that has become a world heritage of humanity. On the basis of this particular historical event, Matera now offers its visitors the fascinating sensation of discovering, on the original thread of their own culture, their emotions, the between cce, sometimes seemingly humble, sometimes cultured, of the competition that has long characterized the city.
The Sassi of Matera
The unique architecture of the Sassi di Matera tells the man's ability to adapt perfectly to the environment and the natural environment, using masterly simple features such as the constant temperature of the excavated environments, the calcarenite itself of the rocky bank for the construction of houses outside land and the use of slopes for the control of water and meteoric phenomena. The architectural structure consists of two systems, the one immediately visible made with the successive stratifications of houses, courtyards, ballotas, palaces, churches, vegetable gardens and gardens, and the internal and invisible at first sight made of cisterns, neviere, caves and tunnels. water control systems, systems essential for the life and wealth of the community. Originally the Sassi di Matera were a rock environment very similar to the one where the Park is located opposite on the other side of the canyon excavated by the Gravina di Matera. The side of the Sassi, the western side is characterized by steep walls that overlook the stream. At the top the slope presents a series of terraces, hills and plateaus that are more suitable for human settlement, places that have been transformed from cave villages in a real city over the millennia. The first human settlements in the territory of Matera date back to the Paleolithic and they developed using the natural caves that in great number define the rocky landscape of Matera. Over time, natural caves have been added to those excavated by man who found in the friable tuff rock an exceptional possibility of settlement protected from natural agents. The rock complexes have constituted the first form of the urban core with environments still present incorporated inside buildings and buildings built out of the earth from the Middle Ages onwards.After going through the phases of prehistory: the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and the different ages of metals history of Matera will be strongly characterized by the advent of Christianity. The Christian imprint becomes culturally dominant in a short time. During the Middle Ages the rock landscape was systematically transformed with the construction of impressive places of worship.During the Middle Ages impressive buildings were built including the majestic Cathedral of Matera, the church of San Giovanni Battista, the Church of S. Domenico, the Church of Santa Maria della Valle Verde on the Appian Way. From this moment onwards a real urban nucleus takes shape, initially concentrated around the Cathedral, which is located at the top of the Civita hill (Civitas, city) dividing the Sassi in two: the Sasso Barisano facing east and the Sasso Caveoso facing to the south. The Sassi di Matera rise on one of the sides of a canyon dug in time by the Gravina stream. On the other side extends the Natural Historical Archaeological Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera also known as the Murgia Materana Park, whose landscape represents the original context of the places, developed over time with urban settlements only on the side of the Sassi.Il Park holds the oldest settlements in the area. Among these the Cave of the Bats whose Paleolithic findings are kept at the National Museum Domenico Ridola in Matera, the Neolithic villages of Murgecchia, Murgia Timone and Trasanello in the north and the rupestrian villages of Selva, the village Saraceno in the south.Today the Sassi of Matera offer the visitor a great cultural landscape, for which UNESCO has included them in the list of World Heritage. From an architectural point of view they present an incredible series of elements that have stratified over time, from the rock complexes excavated by man, to the rock churches, burial areas, that continually alternate with buildings of all the different eras: Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque up to the modern age. The visitor will find continually caves, hypogea, palaces, churches, neighborhoods, stairways, balconies, gardens and gardens all set in each other to form a unique and magical place. Walking along the main axis that connects the two Sassi districts via Bruno Buozzi, via Madonna delle Virtù and via D'Addozio it is possible to cross this landscape and admire at the same time the one on the opposite side of the Murgia Materana Park. It is possible to get on and off the numerous alleys that alternate between buildings and find themselves in always different and surprising corners. Particularly interesting are the Rupestrian Churches that can be visited in the Sassi of Matera.
They call it the Lioness of Puglia: we are talking about Altamura, a proud and rebellious city, beautiful and noble for its history and culture. We are just over 40 km. from Bari and 19 km. from Matera, almost at the border of Puglia with Basilicata. This is Altamura, a city of history and an illustrious past. The name recalls the legendary Queen Altea, and in the past also took the name of Altilia, a thriving city of ancient Peucetia. The presence of man, in Altamura, is very old, like the remains of the Man of Altamura, lived about 400,000 years ago in the cave of Lamalunga, and the numerous finds recovered in the archaeological excavations of the territory.