After our afternoon at Paestum, we travelled even further south to the town of Matera. We pulled in around dusk and this is what it looked like:
Matera was very cool. This town is insanely old. People have been settled here since the paleolithic era. The Romans founded it in the 3rd century B.C. The ancient part of town of Matera is known as the sassi or "stones". The houses here are literally dug out of the rocks and inside are caverns. The Sassi were originally a prehistoric settlement and are thought to be one of the first human settlements in Italy. The town is so dense that the streets in some parts of the Sassi are the rooftops of the houses. People were living in the Sassi until the 1950's when the government ordered the people out, saying that they were unlivable but they have become popular again and people have moved back and businesses have opened up. It's latest claim to fame is that Mel Gibson filmed his movie "The Passion of The Christ" here.
Andy titles this picture "Sassy at Sassi":
The ravine on the outskirts of the Sassi:
Oliver made a friend at the Sassi. He won him over with his crackers.
We went to Casa Grotta, which is a typically furnished old cave dwelling and depicts how people lived before the Sassi were abandoned. This small cave was home to a family of eight and they also kept their livestock in their their home with them! No wonder the government declared these unlivable!