Sassi of Matera is an ancient town with cave dwellings. The term “Sassi” means a hill, rock or stone as well as a piece of substance the dwellings in Sassi are made of. A stone house was carved out of rocks and the stones were used to form a facade with a single window. Often large families, up to 10 people, lived together in one cave alongside their animals and often with big ones like mules.
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The cave dwellings in Matera, also known as the “Sassi di Matera,” are an extraordinary example of human settlement dating back to prehistoric times. Located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, the Sassi are a complex system of cave dwellings, rock-cut churches, and underground cisterns that have been inhabited for over 9,000 years.
The cave dwellings were carved out of the soft tuff rock that forms the hills surrounding the town of Matera. The ancient inhabitants created complex networks of caves, staircases, and tunnels that allowed them to live in a safe and self-sufficient environment. The Sassi are divided into two main areas, Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, both of which are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
In the past, the Sassi were notorious for their poverty and unsanitary conditions. However, in the mid-20th century, the Italian government launched a massive restoration project that transformed the Sassi into one of the most remarkable and unique tourist destinations in Italy.
Today, visitors to Matera can explore the cave dwellings and learn about the fascinating history and culture of this ancient settlement. The Sassi are home to several museums, galleries, and restaurants that offer a glimpse into the local traditions and way of life. The Sassi have also been used as a filming location for several movies, including Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and the James Bond movie “No Time to Die.”
The cave dwellings in Matera are a testament to human ingenuity and resilience, and they provide a unique and unforgettable travel experience for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture.
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