is a city in Basilicata located on the southern part of the Murgian upland, a vast limestone area that to the north borders the Apulian coast while to the south it slopes down to the Ionian Sea through a series of marine terraces. Matera is renowned for its ancient city, the Sassi, two neighborhoods that rise in two valleys separated by a rocky promontory where the Civita stands today.
The Sassi of Matera in 1993 were included by UNESCO in the list of World Heritage Sites, the first site in Southern Italy to receive this recognition.
On 17 October 2014 Matera was designated European Capital of Culture for 2019.
The landscape that dominates the Sassi is rocky biome and was formed thanks to the combined action of man and the erosive force of the Gravina di Matera creek which laps the Sassi flowing in a deep gorge called gravina. Matera is a very ancient city that has its roots in the Paleolithic; its territory is characterized by the constant presence of man for hundreds of thousands of years. The evolution of the city has gone hand in hand with the cultural evolution of humanity and retains important evidence.
Around the city extends the Murgia Materana Park which preserves the most ancient traces, from the Paleolithic settlements to the entrenched villages referable to the ancient Neolithic. There are also consistent testimonies referable to the metal age, in particular to the Bronze Age. The city of Matera was born from this rocky context, whose transformation over the millennia is particularly evident in the Middle Ages through the creation of the first walls around the Civita starting from the 9th-10th century after Christ.
The relationship between man and the extraordinary rock environment that characterizes the city seems to have never stopped, an unprecedented and extraordinary story that begins with the first prehistoric settlements up to today.
Matera offers visitors and tourists the opportunity to discover this long and exciting journey that has characterized its history, a journey that is the result of an original cultural evolution where great testimonies and masterpieces merge with small and apparently humble traces of the different civilizations that have lived here develop.
Matera offers cultural spaces and environments of great charm, in the city there are monuments, museums and places of significant cultural interest. The surrounding area is characterized by valuable environmental resources inserted in the magical rocky landscape of the Murgia Park and the Materana Hill.