Glowing with golden lights at night, the effect is magical

Come around a corner of the modern city of Matera and suddenly, the ancient town appears like a mirage. Stone houses carved into the rock are piled higgledy-piggledy on top of each other, with stone stairways threading up and around between them, finally reaching the cathedral with its square-sided campanile at the top. Glowing with golden lights at night, the effect is magical.

Stay in one of the imaginatively renovated cave dwellings such as the Grotte della Civita (Caves of the Town) hotel, to get a feel for what it must have felt like to live in a troglodyte settlement. Get up before dawn and climb to the top of Matera’s old town to photograph the gray stones of the city turning pink and gold in the early morning sun, as photographer Massimo Bassano did for a Traveler feature story about the “towns that Italy forgot.”

Bonus fact: Matera looks like a stage set, which is probably why Mel Gibson chose to film The Passion of the Christ there.

Matera: Gem of the Basilicata Region
Fonte: National Geographic