Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Sassi di Matera, Basilicata

We had just spent our entire afternoon on the first day of the New Year eating and visiting our friend's hometown of Palo del Colle.  It was already dark and a frosty wind had picked up.  My belly was full and I would've been perfectly happy to call it a day, but S and D had other ambitious plans.  They wanted to visit one more town, Matera, which was supposed to be less than an hour away.  And even better, Matera's location in Basilicata, a region neighboring Puglia.  Perfect for checking off another region on our roadtrip.

So we arrived after an unecessary detour on a deserted country road.  Our gps unit desperately needs a map update.  We wandered around trying to find what we were looking for.  The air was cool and crisp and the moon shone brightly in the clear sky.

We ended up having to ask some locals.  Finally we found what we really came to see: the famous 'sassi di Matera' or the stones of Matera.  A UNESCO world heritage site, these are houses that are dug into the rock itself, and believed to be the first signs of human settlement in Italy.  

We had this beautiful night view of the sassi.  The area is actually larger than the picture depicts.  It's hard to imagine people living in homes that are over 9,000 years old.  This was just a quick stop.  Soon we were speeding back towards our hotel outside of Giovinazzo.  We need to come back to see it in daylight.

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