Matera's ‘sassi’ stone houses

Matera’s ancient town is unique – a collection of ‘sassi’ (stone) houses dug into the rocks of a deep ravine. The homes pile on top of each other to spectacular effect, and a walk around the labyrinthine maze is unlike anywhere else you’ll ever visit. Walking into one of the stone houses, you may be walking on the roof of another home, with more piled on top of you; then on roads, chimneys sprout up from the ground here and there. The ancient dwellings seem to have grown organically from the earth, some of the homes inhabited for around 9,000 years. Some say this is the site of the first human settlements in Italy; a tour through this primitive scenery will convince you of the case.

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