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The City of Matera
Hidden alleys in Sassi seemingly melancholy. Perfumes, life, underground labyrinths and houses climbing along the verticality of the Ravine, a deep, natural and amazing wild valley. This city in the city is a rare pearl, a huge sculpture that has preserved since Paleolithic times the way of living of the caves, next to which the modern houses have risen.
But Matera is not only the rocky beauty of its Sassi.
THE ROCKY CHURCHES
Crypts, churches and monasteries, places of worship dug into the tuff and spread across the Sassi, alongside the cliffs or on the Murgia plateau. These amazing churches are an exceptional work of art. Greek-orthodox and Latin churches prove the development of the cultural and architectural level reached by the rocky community. Saint Lucia e Agata alle Malve, Saint Maria de Idris and Saint Barbara are just some of the 155 rocky churches.
The Cathedral of Matera is located in the civita, on a spur between the two ‘Sassi’, where anciently Saint Eustachio Church rose. Its construction, wanted by the Archbishop Andrea, began in 1230 and was finished forty years later, in 1270. The Cathedral has a roman-pugliese style and an external plant of three aisles: the central one is higher and has five side-windows. The front door, which is on its main façade, is over headed by the statue of the Madonna della Bruna, whereas on the side-façades there are Saint Peter and Paul, St. Eustachio (patron of the town together with the ‘Madonna della Bruna’) and St. Teopista. Its Latin cross is divided into three aisles delimited by ten columns with figurative medieval capitals. The Cathedral, renewed in the XVIII century, does not display much of its original decorations.
The natural areas, parks, protected areas that characterize the whole Lucanian territory are a characteristic mix between nature and culture. They are not only the habitat for rare species of flora and fauna, but they also guard finds of great historical and cultural value. The “Parco della Murgia Materana”, the “Riserva Regionale di San Giuliano” and the “Colle Timmari” are just few of the natural areas you can admire.(Fonte http://www.materaballoonfestival.it)