Nestled in a small canyon carved by the Gravina River, this town was inhabited for thousands of years since the Palaeolithic times. In the prehistoric times, the local population started to settle in dwellings in the calcareous rock of the canyon itself that today are known as 'sassi'. Due to the extreme poverty conditions in the '50s, the government had to relocate most of its population to new housing in the modern part of the city.
Thanks to a change in culture and in local administrators, the 'Sassi's' saw a renaissance in the early 90's and are now being promoted as touristic attractions. Over the last two decades, many economic activities have populated these dwellings: restaurants, pubs, shops, bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels. Today Matera is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Today it is a must-stop for many tourists who travel across Southern Italy, especially after a stay in Apulia or Calabria.