Matera

Matera, in the south of Italy, is famous as an ancient town of the "Sassi di Matera" (meaning "stones of Matera"). The Sassi are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. They are well-preserved rock-cut cave settlements. They are a World Heritage site and one of Southern Italy's many important attractions. The Sassi are located on both sides of a valley. The Sasso Caveoso, on the south side, are the most historically interesting. To the north side the Sasso Barisano have been partially commercially developed as offices and housing. Matera also has many beautiful stairways, and some charming churches carved from the soft volcanic rock of the region, including Sant'Agostino, Matera Cathedral, San Giovanni Battista and San Pietro Caveoso. The other attraction is the Tramontano Castle, begun in the 16th Century by Gian Carlo Tramontano, Count of Matera.

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