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Matera, City of Caves!

Matera is a neolithic Southern Italian city situated in the region Basilicata. It is the 3rd oldest city in the world (1. Aleppo in Syria; 2. Jericho in West Bank) and was once home of the writer Carlo Levi, author of the famous book "Christ Stopped at Eboli." It is also here, in Matera, among its medieval homes carved in rocks and caves, that Mel Gibson's movie “The Passion of Christ” was filmed.

At night, the city looks like a 'presepe' (nativity scene) and because of its beauty, medieval-looking scenery and cultural heritage, Matera has been named host of the European Capital of Culture for 2019 and has become a new best destination for travelers.

This is so ironic since after World War II Matera had been known “the shame of Italy” for the poverty and squalor in which people and animals lived together in the caves without accessibility to the use of water or toilet. The way Matera was built made it difficult to provide a water supply to its inhabitants. This medieval area known as "I Sassi di Matera" (The Rocks of Matera) has been the perfect setting used by filmmakers for making biblical movies, including the 2016 remake of "Ben-Hur" and others. Matera has been resurrected! It is now a tourists attraction, a city to discover and a cultural heritage to preserve. Photos courtesy of Luana Rubbo, Fashion Designer.

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