Lunch is just over, fish was so fresh it was still moving in the basket when we ordered it for our afternoon repast. The Verdeca white wine typical of Puglia, served very chilled and smooth was delicious, we could have drunk many bottles if we didn’t have to be on the road continuing our trip. We should be heading towards Matera, but we are still lingering in the corner café between a coffee mousse and after dinner drinks. Life in these parts moves on slow motion, some of the people in my group are having hard time adjusting to quieter time of this region.
Traveling through the calm countryside of Puglia, a two-way provincial road, we occasional pass a three-wheeled Vespa truck or an agriculture horse and carriage, while almond and olive trees fill our view all the way there. The sun is lulling. Singing along with “Mimmo Lovely” and his music we finally reach Matera, about 50 km. away from Puglia. We park the car and adventure in a short walk to the nearby center town, through fancy boutiques and utilitarian shops.
The historic Piazza Vittorio Veneto was build between the 1600 and 1700 in a mixture of Romanesque and Baroque architecture styles that was literally propped on a flat surface over the “Sassi”, the ancient stone residences of Matera. The new bourgeoisie buildings, churches and monasteries built on a flat surface above buried the caves houses, shops, wine cellars and cisterns underground. Looking down through the grid in Piazza Vittorio Veneto near the fountain it is not so clear that underneath a modern center town pavement there is a huge ancient city of more than 5400 sq. feet, which extends all the way to the convent of the Annunziata and its foundations include a tower once part of the Castello Tramontano. The ancient underground town hides residences in the caves, shops, warehouses, snow storage and a huge water cistern 49 feet tall with a capacity of containing over 132,000 gallons of water.
Restoration began in early 1990 bringing to light the ancient underground town, part of which we can visit now. Above the underground town a road has been opened to allow visitors to be taken by the view of original homes of the 1700s built in a highly refined style with the purpose of hiding and contrast the cave residences once only considered a disgrace to the town of Matera and now winding below our feet with its maze of neighborhoods, streets and stairways, asking to be protected.
Don’t wait too long to see Matera, Puglia and surrounding areas. Major publications in the world are writing about the area and tourists are flocking along with Hollywood actors who are filming and purchasing properties for their originality and the mystical energy those dwellings emanate. You will feel being pulled towards to earth.
If you are thinking of venturing in Puglia check out my Puglia page – https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2/. Ciao,
This post is in response to this week WP photo challenge – https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/grid/
Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
I am writing a travel diary of my last trip to Puglia with an American group and sharing with all of you my notes of feelings, observations, food-wine tasting and experiences that have changed the life of people traveling with me. The trips I organize are made for people who want to live it up in Puglia! In my books about Puglia cuisine, readers will find many easy recipes to follow at home. Check out my books on