The Sassi di Matera is a very special place. Over the border from Puglia, into the province of Basilicata lies a town of rock & cave dwellings built into the hillside. It is believed to be one of the oldest continuously occupied places in the world, with direct links to the bronze or even stone age. It has been a UNESCO world heritage sire since 1993.
The “Cave Dwellings” were seen as a national disgrace by the Italian Government in the 1950’s, and the inhabitants were forcibly re-housed into modern flats and apartments in the new town. For many years it was abandoned, but is now having a regeneration as a place of chick, boutique hotels and AirBnB’s in the caves,
The gentle drive into Basilicata takes in a very different landscape from Puglia. Less lush and more rugged , but beautiful. A really enjoyable day trip from the Trulli.
NOTE. when you approach the outskirts of Matera look for “Sassi” on the road signs. You will park on the hilltop and walk down into the gorge and the ancient settlement. Wear decent walking shoes, not flip flops 🙂