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Matera: Neve in Black & White By Antonio Paolicelli

Matera: Neve in Black & White

Location: Sassi di Matera

Oly E-410 14-42

Foto Realizzata da Antonio Paolicelli


My City is Matera, they say is the most ancient cities in the world. This is not sure, but what is most true and beautiful is that the city of Matera is an open-air museum. Matera (dialect materano Matàhr), UNESCO city known worldwide for the historic districts "Sassi" is a town of 60,053 inhabitants, capital of the province and the second city of Basilicata. The town is located in the eastern part of Basilicata, on the border with Puglia. It rises at the border between the plateau to the east of the Murge, and the ditch Bradanica west, crossed the river Bradano. The stream flows in Gravina deep ditch natural that demarcates the two old districts of the city: "Sasso Barisano" (you see in photo) and "Sasso Caveoso." On the other side there is the Murgia, protected by the Archaeological Park Regional Natural History of Churches Rupestri, more simply said Park Murgia Materana.Gli ancient districts called "Sassi", along with tanks and systems for collecting water, are the characteristic of Matera. This is original and oldest clusters of houses dug into the tufa, behind a deep ravine, "Gravina." At the end of 1993 UNESCO has declared districts Sassi "World Heritage List. Matera is ancient city, whose territory testifies settlements continued since the Paleolithic age. Indeed in caves scattered along the Gravine materane were found various objects dating at that time, testimonianti the presence of groups of hunters. During the period Neolithic settlements became more stable, so that there are obvious traces of several villages entrenched. The Age of metals was born on the first urban core, that the Civita, on the right bank of Gravina.


The city seems to have been formerly called Mataia ole by the Greeks, who comes from Mataio olos, whose meaning is "all vacuous", with reference to Gravina, ditch crossed by streams; further hypothesis is that the name derives from Mata (aggregation of rocks ), Root used for different geographical names, others argue that the name derives from the initials of Heraclea and Metaponto, having accepted refugees of the two cities after their destruction; finally Mateola, ancient name of the city, could come from the consulate Roman Fifth Cecilio Metellus . During the period of Magna Grecia Matera had close relations with colonies located on the coast metapontina, and then in Roman times was only centre of way and supply. In 664 d.C. Matera came under the domain Lombard and was annexed to the Duchy of Benevento. The centuries IX and X were characterized by bitter struggles between the same Lombards, Saracens and the Byzantines, who tried several times to capture the territory, and the city was destroyed by the troops of Ludwig II, emperor of the Franks, precisely in an attempt to hunt the Saracens.


Meanwhile, starting dall'VIII century, the territory materano was the scene of a major immigration and Byzantine Benedictine monks, who settled along the caves of Gravina churches turning them into rock. After the establishment of the Normans happened in 1043 the city experienced a period of peace. In the following centuries, including earthquakes and famines, Matera was long city Direction, as it freed from the feudal domain riscattandosi several times, but under the Aragonese the city was transferred to the Count Tramontano, who in 1514 was killed by people oppressed by taxes. In 1663, Spanish era, Matera came out from the province of Puglia Land of Otranto, which until then had been an integral part, becoming the capital of Basilicata. That the title remained until 1806, when Joseph Bonaparte moved skills to power. In 1927 the city became the capital of the province.


Matera was the first city in the south to rise against the Nazis and that is awarded the Silver Medal to military valor. The September 21, 1943 the people materano insorse against oppression exercised Nazi occupation. Ten people found death as a result of mitragliamenti Germans retreating. The day reached its climax with the ferocious Nazi reprisals that cost the lives of 11 other materani facts jump in the air in the "palace of the militia." In 1948 came the question of Sassi of Matera, raised first by Palmiro Togliatti, and Alcide De Gasperi later. In 1952 a national law established the evacuation of Sassi and construction of new residential neighborhoods that developed the new city in which confluirono the 15,000 inhabitants of Sassi. In 1986 a new national law financed the recovery of the ancient districts materani, now degraded by over thirty years of abandonment. In 1993 finally the Sassi of Matera were declared World Heritage by UNESCO.


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Taken on December 15, 2007