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Travel :Sorrento via Salerno to Matera, Italy, Oct. 7/2023

A continuation of a trip that started on Oct 3rd/2023

Napoli - Oct 3rd (part 1) Positano Oct 6th (part 4)

Capri - Oct 4th (part 2)

Sorrento- oct 5th (part 3)

The devastating news of the Oct. 7th. early morning Hamas bloody mascqure on Israel, dawned on us, as we opened our eyes, on the last day of our family stay in Sorrento.

Shocked, Inbal and Amit, with whom we spend the past 4 vacationing days in the south of Italy, had to fast process the calamitous news, as to make some burning decisions. They were due to fly from Rome back to Israel, that same evening. However the massive shelling on the country and closing off the BG airport, convinced them to stay behind.

Since their rental car had to be returned today back in Rome, and the rental company didn't agree to any other returning arrangement, despite the strange noises the car made (as was mentioned in the Positano segment) they had to drive back up North.

Last breakfast in Sorrento just before the departure

The kids planned to stay in Rome, for the next 2 days, and depending on the war situation, they considered maybe to join us back in the South of Italy, where we continued our stay, for another week traveling, as was pre-planned, before the surprise break-0ut of this murderous war..

At that time we speculated that this horrible war might be prolonged for at least a week or two, based on the stated Israeli news predictions.

Our older daughter Keren and her husband Elie, about whom we worried sick intensely as we did also about the fate of all other impacted Israelis, were staying at the time, in our apartment in Tel-Aviv , since also Jerusalem, where they reside, was under massive shelling,

Puglia was our next destination

We needed to cross the country from the Mediterranean South West coast to East

Also known as Apulia by its Italian name Puglia is a region, located in the East southern peninsular section of the country, bordering the Adriatic Sea.

Its 4 million inhabitants are a mix of descendants of past conquerors including

the ancient,Greeks, Romans Byzantines

Normans Aragonese, Spaniards and Muslims. 8,000-year-old history.

It is one of the richest archaeological regions, known for its striving agriculture economy, (mass olive-culture) and tourism, extravagant churches, dramatic cliffs, picturesque villages uniqe architecture, many long swath of sandy beaches passing through crescent-shaped rocky coves and great cuisine (and more)

The 3.5 hours drive from Sorrento passing Salerno got us eventually to Matera

Panoramic view of the Salemo port from the way

Salerno - The Port of Salerno is one of the most active of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The Roman colony of Salernum was founded in 197 bce, west of the mouth of the Irno River on the Gulf of Salerno, southeast of Naples. on the site of an earlier town, possibly Etruscan, called Irnthi..

The historic interest of the town derives from its medical school—the earliest in Europe—which flourished there in the 11th and 12th c and to which students flocked from Europe, Asia, and northern Africa; it still exists.

Before getting to Puglia, staying, a special night in Matera at the Basilicata region, known for its forests and mountains was absolutely worth the visit.

Matera -The Rock-curved City

One of the oldest cities of the world

Matera lies on the right bank of the Gravina river, whose canyon forms a geological boundary between the hill country of Basilicata (historic Lucania) to the south-west and the Murgia plateau of Apulia to the north-east

Rich in scenery, unique architectural ,

chiese rupestri or rock churches, enchanting views and exotic charm.

Renowned for its rock-cut urban core, the towns twin cliffside zones are known collectively as the Sassi - la città sotterranea  - the underground city - which

together with the rupestrian churches across the Gravina were awarded in 1993 a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and  has attracted tourism.  In 2019, Matera was declared a European Capital of Culture.

Its history continuous occupation dates back to the Palaeolithic (10th millennium BC)

The city began as a complex of cave habitations excavated in the softer limestone on the gorge's western, Lucanian face, taking advantage of two streams which flow into the ravine

The settlement districts scaling down and burrowing into the sheer rock faces as the Sassi.which consist of around twelve levels spanning the height of 380 m, connected by a network of paths, stairways, and courtyards, which are delightful to walk through.

the two streambeds, called the grabiglioni , the northern hosts Sasso Barisano (facing Bari) and the southern Sasso Caveoso (facing Montescaglioso).

By the end of the 18th c, a physical class boundary separated the very crowded  Sassi of the peasants, from the new spatial order of their social superiors in the Piano

The center of public life moved (in 16c) outside the walls to the Piazza Sedile in the open plain (the Piano) to the west, followed by the shift of the elite residences to the Piano from the 17th century on wards.

Rock-carved church Santa Maria de Idris,

This old church dug into the Idris rock is situated on Monterrone, cliff that lies in the middle of Sasso Caveoso, is decorated with 12th- to 17th-c frescoe and is one of the most scenic rock churches

Only in the 20th c the Sassi were declared unfit for modern habitation, and the government relocation of all their inhabitants to new housing in the Piano newer area followed between 1952 and the 1970s

The central high ground, or acropolis, supporting the city's cathedral and administrative buildings, came to be known as Civita,

Catettedrale Maria SS Della Bruna e Sant"Eustachio

This Roman Catholic cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the designation of the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace. Formerly the seat of the Bishops, later Archbishops, of Matera, it is now the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Matera-Irsina.

B uilt in 13 c in Apulian Romanesque style, on the ridge that forms the highest point of the city of Matera it divides the 2 Sassi, and can be well see from the maze of alleys beloy

Martin Katz &Andrea Roggi Art work

When we made it from down the sassi up on our walk, to the top of the Cathedral hill, off where the views of the sassi below, especially, at sun down, are magical, a fantastic Spanish guitar player trained with the famous Andres Segovia, add to the special ambiance of the place

The hotel we stayed in was right on Matera's main square - the 17th c Vittorio square


VittorioVeneto - Materna Luxary rooms

Via Ascanio Persio 2 - Piazza Vittorio Venet0

+39 0835335073/+39 391 3877864. 

Breakfast on the square

Other sites at the upper part of town

On the night we slept in town the main Vittorio square was mobbed with visitors attending the closing night of a Film Festival

The Matera Festival run from 30th September to 7 October 2023 by 'Making-Of', later called as association and offers 3 categories of competitions, one of which reserved for feature films, one for short films, and a third for documentaries.

Palombaro Lungo -

A Rain Water collected Cistern

Before departing town on the morning of Oct 8th , just off the main Vittorio square, we had a great visit at the Palombaro Lungo,

The giant man-made underground complex of water cistern dug into the rock during the 16th c, includes numerous underground cisterns of various sizes, connected to

each other like the roots of a large tree, extended under all the Sassi.


alle Fornaci Restaurant/Piazza - Sea food restaurant

Cesare Firrao, 5. 39 835 335037

To be Continued....


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