Introduction to the Sassi of Matera

The Sassi district is the ancient heart of the city of Matera.
The Sassi  surround the Civita and constitute a city unto itself, completely carved out of the face of the calcareous rock -what is known as tufa stone. The Sassi district is a system made of dwellings carved out of the steep slopes of a deep valley with surprising and unusual features called the ‘Gravina’.
Elegant and multi-faceted buildings are interspersed with underground mazes and cave labyrinths, forming one single stunning landscape.
Over the course of the centuries, the city has changed its shape over and over again in an ongoing dialogue between rock and architecture, canyon and bell-tower, flowing into a cityscape of incomparable beauty and distinction.
The Sassi were once the very heart of peasant life and culture. Nowadays the district has been renovated and has regained new dignity and new life, offering breathtaking views, particularly at night when the glow of the small lights of homes, the craft shops and restaurants turn the Sassi into a living nativity scene.
UNESCO declared the Sassi to be a World Heritage Site in 1993. It beckons to visitors, a magnificent, unique view steeped in the past.

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