Thursday, September 30, 2010

postcards from Italy

The Sassi district of Matera

Weird head planters

Green shutters
1. 056-pola, 2. 304-pola, 3. 181-pola01, 4. 336-pola

A few of my pictures from the beautiful and unique Sassi district of Matera, where the houses, caverns, and streets are dug from the calcarous rock in the mountain itself.  This area is believed to be the site of some of the first human settlements in Italy.  According to Fodor's

"Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago."

By the 1950s, the district had essentially become a ghetto, and the living conditions were deplorable.  The government forcefully relocated most of the population to apartment blocks on the outskirts of the city.  People do still live in these dwellings, though, and tourism is starting to bring in more money for repairs and restoration.  

I still have a lot more photos to go through, but I promise I will try to get the rest of them up by the end of the week.

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