Matera, the City of Sassi (Rocks), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world whose territory preserves evidence of human settlements starting from the Paleolithic and without interruptions up to the present day. It represents an extraordinary page written by man through the millennia of this very long history.
Matera is the city of the Sassi (Rocks), the original urban nucleus, which developed from the natural caves carved into the rock and subsequently turned into increasingly complex structures within two large natural amphitheaters which are the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano.
The first human settlements in the territory of Matera date back to the Paleolithic and developed using the natural caves that in large numbers define the rocky landscape of Matera. Over time, the natural caves have been added to those dug by man who found an exceptional possibility of settlement protected from natural agents in the friable tufaceous rock. The rock complexes form the first urban core still present today incorporated into buildings above which some more buildings were built from the Middle Ages onwards.
Matera is a city with a fascinating and complex history: a city of contrasts and fusion of different landscapes, civilizations and cultures.
From the native rock civilization to those of Byzantine and Eastern matrix, to the advent of the Normans, Matera finally underwent the systematic attempt to reduce the rock city to the rules of the culture of the European City and nowadays it shows a range of architectural styles, from the Romanesque, to the Renaissance, to the Baroque and the last eight centuries of construction.
The incredible architecture of the Sassi di Matera tells of man’s ability to adapt dwellings to the environment and the natural contest perfectly, skilfully using simple natural characteristics such as the constant temperature of the excavated rooms, the limestone itself of the rocky bank as the external walls of the houses and the natural slopes for the control of water and meteoric phenomena
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