The Sassi: Cysterns and water collection system
Facing north-west, Sasso Barisano, is rich in decorated portals that hide its subterranean heart. Sasso Caveoso, facing south, is like a roman theatre with its cave dwellings disposed on terraces.
It’s probably named after its caves and after classical theatres. At the center you will find the Civita, a rocky hill separating the two Sassi and hosting the Cathedral. The Sassi and the Civita constitute the old urban landscape of Matera.
Though granting safety for its inhabitants, this site provided great difficulties in the water provision. Since early times, its inhabitants concentrated their efforts in digging water cysterns and channelling systems.
These humble digging techniques acquired an inconceivable charm during the centuries.
The prehistoric men, that carved channels and dag deep cysterns and shared their resources in common spaces like neighbourhoods, appear tu us as geniuses. All this is Matera’s enchanting beauty.