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Until the late s the Sassi was still considered an area of poverty, since its dwellings were, and in most cases still are, uninhabitable and dangerous.


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The present local administration, however, has become more tourism-orientated, and it has promoted the regeneration of the Sassi as a picturesque touristic attraction with the aid of the Italian government, UNESCO, and Hollywood. Today there are many thriving businesses, pubs and hotels there, and the city is amongst the fastest growing in southern Italy. Matera preserves a large and diverse collection of buildings related to the Christian faith, including a large number of rupestrian churches carved from the calcarenite rock of the region.

Matera Cathedral — has been dedicated to Santa Maria della Bruna since The interior is on the Latin cross plan, with a nave and two aisles. The decoration is mainly from the 18th century Baroque restoration, but recently [ when? The main altar and the interior frescoes were cleaned, and missing pieces of moldings, reliefs, and other adornments were reconstructed from photographic archives or surrounding fragments. There are many other churches and monasteries dating back throughout the history of the Christian church. Some are simple caves with a single altar and maybe a fresco, often located on the opposite side of the ravine.

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Some are complex cave networks with large underground chambers, thought to have been used for meditation by the rupestric and cenobitic monks. Matera was built above a deep ravine called Gravina of Matera that divides the territory into two areas.

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Fascinating insight into Matera's past - Museo Laboratorio della Civilta Contadina

Matera was built such that it is hidden, but made it difficult to provide a water supply to its inhabitants. Early dwellers invested tremendous energy in building cisterns and systems of water channels. The largest cistern has been found under Piazza Vittorio Veneto. With its solid pillars carved from the rock and a vault height of more than fifteen metres, it is a veritable water cathedral, which is navigable by boat.

Like other cisterns in the town, it collected rainwater that was filtered and flowed in a controlled way to the Sassi. There were also a large number of little superficial canals rasole that fed pools and hanging gardens. Moreover, many bell-shaped cisterns in dug houses were filled up by seepage. Later, when the population increased, many of these cisterns were turned into houses and other kinds of water-harvesting systems were realised.

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Some of these more recent facilities have the shape of houses submerged in the earth. The Tramontano Castle , begun in the early 16th century by Gian Carlo Tramontano, Count of Matera , is probably the only other structure that is above ground of any great significance outside the sassi. However, the construction remained unfinished after his assassination in the popular riot of 29 December Other rooms are dedicated to daily-life places - such as the public wine cellar and the typical house - and themes related to the South-Italy history such as brigandage, childhood condition and water-harvesting.

The Museo-Laboratorio aims to be a dynamic structure among the tourism products of Matera and a reference for the development of the culture of the past through exhibition and educational activities.

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The Museo-Laboratorio aims to be a dynamic structure among the tourism products of Matera and a reference for the development of the culture of the past through exhibition and educational activities. All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. Log in to get trip updates and message other travelers. Log in Join Recently viewed Bookings Inbox. Un viaggio nel tempo of Museo Laboratorio della Civilta Contadina.