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Province of Matera

Trip Planner Europe  /  Italy  /  Basilicata  /  Province of Matera
(4.2/5 based on 15,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: nature, sightseeing, historic sites
Matera is a city and a province in the region of Basilicata, in southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Matera and the capital of Basilicata from 1663 to 1806. The town lies in a small canyon carved out by the Gravina.Known as "la Città Sotterranea", Matera is well known for its historical center called "Sassi", considered World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993, along with the Park of the Rupestrian Churches.On October 17, 2014, Matera was declared Italian host of European Capital of Culture for 2019.HistoryThe area of what is now Matera has been settled since the Palaeolithic. The city was allegedly founded by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, with the name of Matheola after the consul Lucius Caecilius Metellus. In AD 664 Matera was conquered by the Lombards and became part of the Duchy of Benevento. In the 7th and 8th centuries the nearby grottos were colonized by both Benedictine and Basilian monastic institutions. The 9th and 10th centuries were characterized by the struggle between the Byzantines and the German emperors, including Louis II, who partially destroyed the city. After the settlement of the Normans in Apulia, Matera was ruled by William Iron-Arm from 1043.
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