There is something exceptional

Take any road in Italy, look up, and you’ll see a lovely hilltop town: a campanile, a castello, a few newer buildings spilling down the slope, as if expelled for the crime of ugliness. But even amid this bounty there is something exceptional about Matera. It clings to a denuded peak in the extreme south of the country, in the Basilicata region—the instep of Italy’s boot. Travellers are often shocked by the starkness of Matera. It’s a claustrophobic outcropping of cave dwellings carved into limestone, like scrimshaw, with hardly a tree or a blade of grass to be seen. In the afternoon sun, Matera looks like a pile of tarnished gold thrown down by a careless giant. Its severe beauty is as much a tribute to human resilience as to the rugged landscape where it is situated. Most places in Italy encourage you to celebrate the prettiness that wealth bestows: exquisite iron grillwork, festive marble fountains. Matera is more visceral—a monument to endurance and thrift, to hard lives lived without waste.

A Cave with a View
By D. T. Max, The Tew Yorker

Foto fatta a Matera