A resurgence of interest in this little-known region of southern Italy is underway, spearheaded by the sassy sassi of Matera.
Last year Matera silenced the critics by beating out better-heeled northern rivals like Siena and Ravenna to be chosen as European Capital of Culture for 2019. The run-up to 2019 is likely to generate a surge of travelers, which means that if you want to get ahead of the curve and off the beaten path, you should start planning your southern sojourn in Basilicata prestissimo.
An inhabited town since before recorded history, Matera’s residents have for millennia built cave-homes in the stone gorges overlooking the Gravina River below. There are two cave neighbourhoods, or sassi: Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso, set on either flank of the spur straddled by the 13th-Century Duomo cathedral. Recently declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, the maze-like sassi are being rapidly revived and rehabilitated, with B&Bs and trattorias sprouting like stalactites amongst the Byzantine frescoes and rock churches.
Beamish In Basilicata