Opposite us there was just a grey barren mount. No cultivations, no trees, just earth and stones beaten by the sun. At the bottom a poor stream, Gravina, whose water seemed as stuck into the stones.The atmosphere was sad and the form of that ravine was strange. It looked like two funnels next to each other, separated by a small cliff and joint at the bottom. From there you could see a white church, Santa Maria De Idris, thrust into the earth.

These two upside down cones were just like I imagined Dante’s Inferno at school.
From the rocky walls I saw the tables, the beds, the furnishings and the hanging rags. Dogs, sheep, goats and pigs were lying on the ground. Each family owns a cave and they sleep along with their animals. So live 20000 people.

Da “Cristo si è fermato ad Eboli”, Carlo Levi Torino 1945





« It’s a very strange town, sat on three valleys with churches at the top and houses hanging under them…By night it resembles a starry sky
(Giovan Battista Pacichelli)

……. Matera’s aching beauty is so straightforward that anyone can be struck by it..
( Carlo Levi, 1952 )

Some parts of the townare two thousand years old and resemble Jewish. We relied a lot on the view you had there. The first time I saw Matera, I lost my head because it was simply perfect.

( Mel Gibson, 2003)

It’s a variation of lights and shadows, a pictoresque game of colours, It’s a maze of streets, walls, arches, windows, chimneys, balconies, shelves, loggias, where no symmetry, no lines, no order can be found.  On this great scene life unfolds. 

( Carmelo Colamonico, 1927 )

“…if you go down one of those long stairs cut into the sandstone, you’ll need more than a day or two  to satisfy your curiosity.

( Giuseppe Isnardi, 1953 )


I found the cosmic root of humanity in Matera.The echo of its ravines is the same since man settled here… 
In the faces of men on the streets you can guess a noble past.
( Josè Ortega )




Seen through a veil of poetry and melancholy, Matera is the most smiling of the towns I have visited” ( Giovanni Pascoli, 1884 )

Due to the exhaltation of reading the Gospels, I made the decision to make a film about them. Having put aside Palestrine, because its territory was unrecognizable by now, the place I was searching for was Matera, a place where a true, ferociously ancient sun shines.

( Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1963 )

Matera is an extraordinary town: you feel like leaning on an open inhabited underground, forming a town.
This gathering of half cave-dwellers, in which life has been unfolding since prehistory, is unique in Europe and one of the most astonishing in Italy.”.

( Guido Piovene, 1957 )