Matera is one of the least visited regions in Italy, which deserves more attention for a few good reasons. Among them is the Sassi District within the City of Matera. It has a cave dwelling district where people lived literally in the caves, not by their choice but out of no choice. They were just too poor to live else where. People did not even realize that there were people living in the caves in the valley. That is why it was called the Shame of Italy.
Italy could not continue ignoring this shameful city. So they rescued people from the caves and relocated them to other livable places. Later, artists moved in and started renovating the old structures, thus attracting visitors. It has become a UNESCO site, thus attracting even more tourists, whether it is good or bad.
Now the Sassi District has become better known than before thanks largely to the filming of a few famous movies, such as Passion of Christ. So it is now called the Second Bethelehem.
I took a quick tour to the cathedral in a short distance.
Matera has a unique bread that was the staple for the residents.
Historically, pasta was first used and mentioned here in this city.
Matera has a church built in a rock, called Madona de Idris Reperstraian Rock Church. I paid 3 Euros to enter, but I was not allowed to take any photo.
Italy plans to expose Matera more in 2019 when countries in Europe showcase one of their cities. We will see.
But frankly I liked the way it was less crowded, but the residents may not share my preference. Our visit to this gloomy-looking city probably was important to their livelihood. - Jeffrey