Located down in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata, the ancient city of Matera beat five other Italian cities, Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia, Ravenna, and Siena to be crowd the European Capital of Culture 2019. Once the ruling capital of the region, 1663 to 1806, the UNESCO World Heritage Site town rests in a small canyon that eroded slowly over the years. One of Matera’s most famous features is the ‘Sassi di Matera’, (Stones of Matera), the ancient town of Matera that are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy, and are houses dug into rock. The modern town has since grown up and around the side of the valley, creating a dramatic staggered effect to the town that is as awe-inspiring as its ancient history.
It’ll come of no surprise that the site has been used in world famous films, yes mostly Italian, but also for scenes in some of the biggest big screen events since the 1950s. It is the films that pique my interest today, but if you’re looking for more information about this glorious town, click here.
The films that have chosen Matera as location have been varied and unique. Just take the upcoming 2016 re-telling of ‘Ben-Hur’ by Timur Bekmambetov, which is based on the novel ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ’. The film is set between Rome and Matera, telling the story of a nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur, who survives years of slavery to get revenge on someone who betrayed him. It stars Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, and Morgan Freeman who said that Matera is an, “extraordinary city and magical”. ‘This is one example of the range of themes that Matera has welcomed and seen come and go.
From Pasolini to Ben Hur: Movies filmed in magical Matera