Friday, February 24, 2017

Italy: Matera

Back to Italy posts! Surprisingly, these take me a bit of time to pull together, hence the gap between them. Ha! I get distracted looking at so many photos of our trip and there are so many to edit down. But here we go!

Matera is one of the most incredible places I've ever been to. It may even be the most incredible place I've ever been to. It's OLD. Yes, there are a lot of old cities on this planet, but what tends to happen is that we tear old buildings down and build new ones in their place. A constant stripping and rebuilding which means that reminders of the past disappear. But Matera has been layering it's buildings on old ones, building out and up, instead of tearing down. So the history is still very present. And not only that, the oldest buildings are not even buildings at all- they're caves! Like, caveman caves. Caves, carved into the stone of the hillside with buildings built out from and around them. Being there was like being in the middle of the movie Labyrinth. It was SO MAGICAL. Matera has one of the oldest (If not the oldest?) recorded histories of any city. They film a lot of movies about religion and Jesus there too (in fact they were filming one while we were there), since it looks so authentically old and rustic. Ahem, because IT IS so authentically old and rustic. This UNESCO world heritage site is so completely worth visiting. It's unlike anything I have ever seen and gave such a great perspective on history. History felt very real and alive. And the food's good too! And it's a small town and fun and relaxing and you can hike the ravine. Make sure to eat a panzerotto at Sottozero!

01/ All of a sudden, there it was. We came around the corner and this was our first view of Matera.
02/ Ancient narrow stone walkways.
03/ A museum whose name I forget, in the Palazzo Lanfranchi.
04/ The ravine with thousands-of-years-old caves.
05/ A cave! Men used to live in there...
06/ A more architecturally considered cave. But yet, still a cave. And the tetris city that is old city Matera.
07/ Just look at that! Can't tell where one thing starts and another ends.
08/ Our fancy cave hotel.
09/ Matera set above the ravine.

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