Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world. It was nominated the European Capital of Culture for 2019 on October 17, 2014.
Since 1993, the Sassi and the Park of the Cave Churches are UNESCO World Heritage site. During the day, sunlight envelops the stones and gives them a very similar colour to that of Palestinian sites. At night, dotted with small flames, the Sassi resemble a magnificent nativity scene.
Its beauty and extraordinary charm have made Matera an internationally renowned city. It has been chosen as the set of movies by famous directors such as Mel Gibson with “The Passion”, Pier Paolo Pasoling with “The Gospel according to Matthew” and most recently Cyrus Nowrasteh with “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” and Timur Dekmambetov with the remake of “Ben Hur”.
Matera has attracted and continues to attract even the great masters of sculpture, such as Henry Cartier-Bresson, Mario Cresci and Franco Pinna, as documented in the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture and Photography.
In Matera, nature and man are the main characters in the history, the landscape and the traditions of the city. It combines interesting testimonies of the sacred, such as the over 150 cave churches, which include the Crypt of the Original Sin, also known as the ‘Sistine Chapel’ with its splendid Byzantine frescoes.
In Matera, culture is also expressed through its numerous museums and cultural centres set in old houses of great beauty.