Back on track – Matera, Italia – 15 ottobre 2015

There’s never enough time.  It looks like I’ll just get a taste of Matera, which is a shame, because it’s an incredible place!  I already know the people are wonderful!

So, why did I choose to explore Matera?  Mainly, because it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1993).  And, it has been designated the  European Capital of Culture 2019.  Get it while the getting’s good.  For readers in the U.S., you’ve seen Matera if you’ve watched The Passion of the Christ (2004).  I’ve got to see the Sassi di MateraSassi is Italian for ‘stones’, and, refers to the cave-like dwellings carved out of the stone in the historical center of the city.  The sassi are thought to have been around for 9,000 years!  People lived in these dwellings, with their livestock – and, without electricity, running water or sewer systems as recently as the 1950’s.  The public health part of me cringes.  Disease was rampant – especially malaria.  The government forced the sassi dwellers to move after the conditions of the sassi became more well known (after the 1945 publication of Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli).  Many of the dwellings have been restored and are now homes, shops and restaurants.

It’s raining this morning.

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If that green, white and red umbrella had been collapsible, there would have been a sale.

 

Amy explored the Sasso Caveoso area yesterday, so, we will check out the Sasso Barisano area today.

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Step down – back into time.

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We found a small private museum (admission €2) which had re-created a typical sasso.

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The entrance

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That is one large mortar and pestle!

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A ‘pot’ in the bedroom would certainly take the romance out of the bedroom.

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Is this supposed to be an Italian horn – to ward off the ‘evil eye’?

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I guess they didn’t have to go far to tend the livestock!

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la cucina

 

We have been spotted!  This sweet mangy dog stayed with us as we walked up the hill.
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It wasn’t easy to convince Amy this was a pomegranate tree.

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la gravina (the ravine)

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On the prowl…

Ok, time for lunch.  We timed this perfectly.  There’s was only one other occupied table when we arrived.  A short time later, there was an influx of a group of about 30 people.

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The waiter (son of the owners?)  offered to make us a vegetarian appetizer plate.  The descriptions are very general – sorry!

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Beans and chicory.  Bread balls with red sauce.

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Counter clockwise starting with the cheese – crostini with a bean pate, ricotta with marmalade, fried red chili peppers (addictive), combination of potatoes, onions and red peppers

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Ferricelli con crema di caciocavallo podolico, pistacchi e porcini – we shared this.  A perfect lunch.

 

I could wander through the sassi for days.  Just another place I’ll have to revisit.  Today, didn’t end with lunch.  We’re headed to Craco!  You won’t want to miss it!

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