A trip to Italy always involves at least a little bit of history—a Roman ruin here, some renaissance art there, and churches, churches, churches. But while some may bemoan these as gelato delays, others may relish the visual inspiration. For the latter, the Basilicata town of Matera may be your next big trip al sud. Matera is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, and is made up of rock-cut caves in which its citizens have traditionally lived. The town was named a UNESCO world heritage site in the ’90s, and is set to be one of the European Union’s two Capitals of Culture for 2019—quite the coup considering its post–World War II reputation as “the shame of Italy.” Strikingly beautiful, Matera is poised to become Europe’s next best destination—so visit before it gets too caldo under the Italian sun.
Why the City of Matera Is Italy’s Hidden Treasure