The City was established on the Gravina di Matera (tributary
of Bradano), 200m above sea level.
The Town Planning of Matera is unique in
its genre. It is built on a calcareous ram of the western
Murge and faces towards the deep gorge of the Gravina with
its sheer cliff walls interrupted by two hollows: the Sasso
Barisano to the north and the Sasso Caveoso to the South.
The “Sassi” (Stones) are the old, picturesque,
rocky landscape quarters of Matera, with habitation for
the most, excavated from volcanic tuff, disorderly placed
one on top of another, and often having only one façade
From the districts of the Sassi we can see the churches
of: Santa Maria de Idriss, probably the oldest, completely
dug out in the rocks, apart from its front, with frescoes
from the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries; San Pietro Barisano,
from the 12th and 13th Centuries, partly rocky with a 17th
Century curvilinear façade; San Pietro Caveoso, erected
in 1656 on the edge of a precipice. The Tramontano Castle,
which remained unfinished, but notable for the donjon or
keep and its two towers, dating back to the 15th Century.
The Cathedral is in the Roman-Pugliese style (1268-1270)
with internal decoration in the Baroque style of 1627 and
[MATERA Guide >>]