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i sassi d'insieme | by Paolo Margari |
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i sassi d'insieme

matera, italy


(ricorda molto cinico tv di ciprì e maresco)


I Sassi di Matera, abitati sin dal neolitico, costituiscono il centro storico della città di Matera. I Sassi sono stati iscritti nella lista dei patrimoni dell'umanità dell'UNESCO nel 1993. Sono stati il primo sito iscritto dell'Italia meridionale. L'iscrizione è stata motivata dal fatto che essi rappresentano un ecosistema urbano straordinario, capace di perpetuare dal più lontano passato preistorico i modi di abitare delle caverne fino alla modernità. I Sassi di Matera costituiscono un esempio eccezionale di accurata utilizzazione nel tempo delle risorse della natura: acqua, suolo, energia.




Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the "Sassi di Matera" (meaning "stones of Matera"). The Sassi originate from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy.


The Sassi are houses dug into the rock itself, known locally as "Tufo", which is characteritic of Basilicata and Puglia. Many of these "houses" are really only caverns, and the streets in some parts of the Sassi often are located on the rooftops of other houses. The ancient town grew in height on one slope of the ravine created by a river that is now a small stream. The ravine is known locally as "la Gravina".


In the 1950s, the government of Italy forcefully relocated most of the population of the Sassi to areas of the developing modern city. However, people continued to live in the Sassi, and according to the English Fodor's guide:

“ Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago”.


Until the late 1980s this was considered an area of poverty, since these houses were, and in most areas still are, mostly unlivable. Current local administration, however, has become more tourism-oriented, and has promoted the re-generation of the Sassi with the aid of the European Union, the government, UNESCO, and Hollywood. Today there are many thriving businesses, pubs, and hotels.


One of the benefits of the ancient city, is that there is a great similarity in the look of the Sassi with that of ancient sites in and around Jerusalem. This has caught the eye of film directors and movie studios. [wikipedia]


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Taken on October 20, 2007