The first stop on our recent trip to Italy was Matera, a town that has been continuously inhabited for 150,000 years. In this first photo, a panorama of five images stitched together, you can just make out some early caves on the opposite side of the 600 foot deep canyon. The Sassi itself is comprised of thousands of caves, all hand carved out of the rock, and later added on to with “fronts” added on using stone from the excavations. Historically, Matera was a very poor town, and as recently as the 1950’s, the Italian government actually made everyone move from the Sassi due to the very poor living conditions. Since then, many of the caves have been renovated and are again being inhabited.
We stayed in a hotel that has completely upgraded several of the caves with modern plumbing and electricity, providing for a unique experience for tourists like us.
You might call Matera the town of 100,000 steps, as everything is up or down no matter where you walk. It is such a period piece that several movies have been made here. The most recent was Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ”. We spent a great couple of days in Matera, enjoying an excellent tour as well as the food and local wine. Following are a few images I shot while walking around this fascinating town.
I always like to get a few shots of local doorways when traveling. Here are just a couple.
Wherever you look, there are caves everywhere. And at night, the illuminated views make a great presentation.
All the photos from our trip were taken with a pocket size Sony RX100 III. This is a really nifty little camera. It shoots 20 MB RAW files and has many of the same controls found only on larger DSLR cameras. I think it does a great job, and is certainly much easier to tote around than any of my Nikon gear. As mentioned earlier in this post, the first image is a five frame panorama. If printed at full size, it would measure over 6 feet long and 2 feet high. I haven’t printed it that large, but a 19″x 7″ print looks very good and even that is reduced from the original full frame size. Hope that you enjoy these photos.