This town of unique Sassi (cave dwellings) is one of southern Italy's most intriguing places. The so-called New Town is full of elegant Baroque churches, palazzi, and broad piazzas, which are filled to bursting during the evening passeggiata. It's perched on the verge of a steep gully crowded with ancient rock churches, some of which you can tour, and other Sassi converted into modern-day homes as well as hotels and restaurants. This is a particularly good time to visit: Matera's designation as the European Capital of Culture for 2019 reenergized the community with investment, cultural initiatives, and plenty of buzz.
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