Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Matera, Italy 2018 ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Date:  25-26th August 2018

Travelled:  109 kilometres from Cisternino in Puglia to Matera in Basilicata, both in Italy.

Visited:  Matera and the Sussi.

Stayed:  Massiera Radonga sosta, โ‚ฌ12 including electricity.  N40.67221, E16.62925

Budget:  84 days @ โ‚ฌ98 per day.

We try to make an early start as the drive to Matera will take a couple of hours.  But the Hymer has not been serviced for a few days so everything takes a little longer.  Our free sosta in Cisternino was both quiet in the evening and well located to visit the surrounding towns and get the laundry done.  However itโ€™s time to move, so we do.

Not an easy drive as once again the roads are atrocious.  Matera is a major tourist attraction and as itโ€™s the weekend we want to be just out of town.  There are some free overnight stays in town, but a good nights sleep out of town has more appeal.  Plus we have the scooter to get around.  We set the GPS for Massiera Radonga, the Sussi Visitors Centre about 3klms out of town.  Apart from having facilities itโ€™s also the cheapest option of the 5 sosta in Matera.

Once the Hymer is parked under some shade, we settle in and un-load the scooter and head off for some exploration.

Our sosta for 2 nights in Matera.
We are happily surprised to find that another kilometre or so along the road on from the sosta are several sassi dwellings and a church.  Also a fabulous viewing point of Matera.

What is Matera all about ?  The guide states the ridge along which Matera stands has been occupied since paleolithic times, for 7,000 years in fact.  The ridge is riddled with small caves, the soft limestone being excavated by generations of habitants to form houses, known as sassi.

Looking across the gorge again, I zoom in on an area of sassi houses.

Closer to the sosta we go for a walk to investigate this ruin.
It was the Church of St Falcione.
Excited by our discoveries so far we scooter around to Matera itself. There are two seperate districts we head for Sasso Caveoso (southern) and find a park just about outside the old town hall.
Itโ€™s now late afternoon and the streets are starting to buzz.
We take a quick look inside the Church di San Francesco of Assisi.
The Assisi has lots of bling, but I thought the dome ceiling was the pick.

Anyway it is getting late and the Sasso Barisano (northern) can wait till tomorrow.  It was a peaceful evening, Pam and I watched Tulip Fever before saying goodnight.  I cool breeze is blowing, we leave the windows open, no a/c, no fans needed, as good as it gets.

We scooter down to Sasso Barisano about 10.30am. After yesterdayโ€™s exploration we know where to go.  The scooter is so good for this sort of travel.  Apart from the fact you can park virtually anywhere.
Pamโ€™s favourite stair…
The guide recommends visiting the Church of Madonna and Church of St Nicholas.  So we continue our wanderings down through the Sasso Barosano.
They are both part of a tourist museum so we pay our โ‚ฌ3pp and have a look.  Many of the primative frescos are faded but very interesting all the same.
There is some strategically placed modern artwork here and there.!
Some more frescos
Every ancient sassi church needs a necropolis.

Just an interesting picture of the crossing of passageways and stairs.
Looking across the valley on the undeveloped side of the valley.
Part of our tour this morning includes visiting a model sassi house as it was left in the 1950โ€™s.
Another photo of the house…
A last photo of Sasso Barisano.

We scooter back to the Sosta, for lunch and a nap.

Itโ€™s mid-afternoon by the time we scooter back into Matera.  Rather than head back into the sassi district straight away, we ride to the top of the hill.  To walk around Castello Tramontano.  We find the castello closed for renovations.  So thatโ€™s that.
The last thing on our list is the Duomo Matera or Cathedral. Circa 1250. So we scooter down and park in the nearby piazza and go for a look.
Looking forward across the transept to the alter.
Doesnโ€™t he look like himself ?
So thatโ€™s Matera, we take a drink in one of the many small piazza and enjoy the passing parade.  Pam is somewhat mesmoried but this old fellow in the cardigan.

We scooter back to the Hymer, get the webber out and BBQ some chops for a change. Another day slips past…

Michael and Pam

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