Thursday, November 10, 2011

Amazing Matera, Italy

I have been to cities and villages that have tested my hill climbing ability and towns that have tested my long distance walking, but this is the first town that is testing my step climbing stamina. After 3 hours of walking up and down stairs all around Matera, I have taken an aspirin and taken to the couch. Luckily, it is raining outside so I don't feel like I'm missing anything. Those old knees did not like climbing all of those stair!

But, the views, the city - this to me if the most beautiful city I've seen in Italy - and I have seen quite a few beautiful cities. A video would probably be the best way to see Matera, but pictures do capture much of the mystique.

This is the scene from my front porch as the fog was lifting this morning:

A little later from the other side of Matera, looking back at when I am staying:

There was a cooking show being filmed not to far from the apartment. They were there for hours. I stopped by a few times but every time I saw the police head my way I mozied on out of there.

I toured one of the cave houses that was furnished like it has been when it was lived in. The surprising thing is that people lived in these places until the mid 1960's when 15,000 people were relocated to other places in town.

They kept their animals in the house with them - the bed was high so the chickens could stay there and the horse had it's own corner.

Indoor toilet was a pot beside the bed.

There was a small kitchen

And they had a cistern dug out under the house where they collected rain water. They had a cover over it but you can make out the trench where the water came in- as well as my foot!

It's hard to see the caves in these pictures - except for this first one. There are many like this in town and in the hills that are covered over but it looks like people have still partied in them. I hope to explore some of the caves in the hills across from town- if I can find my way there.

My apartment isn't too far from the church tower. I can only find it by knowing that there are flags for a museum of modern art a few doors down from me. Can you just see me trying to ask for directions home here? "I'm in an old stone building in the old part of town, down a bunch of steps. Can you give me directions?"

More city views, churches, etc. Seymour and I went in to all of the churches, even the ones with a picture of the Pope on the door!

This made me laugh. I guess it is their idea of making the steps wheelchair and baby stroller accessible:

It's hard to see, but there is a river than runs through Matera. It didn't look very wide. I think you can also see some of the caves in this picture of you enlarge it:

This was a stone carving I saw in front of a shop. Later I passed it and saw a sign that said "no photos". I don't know if I missed seeing it or it went up later - in English!

I found a small grocery store and bought some things for dinner - pasta, sauce and chocolate! Then I went back later and bought salad fixings, olives and beer. I will probably need to go back again today to get Seymour some dog food.

I found a fruit and veggie market so I got some large cherry tomatoes, greens (I have no idea what they are so I'm going to give them to my hosts!) and freshly picked clementines. Very inexpensive - I bought a kilo of tomatoes, 1/2 kilo of clementines (which was about 12 medium sized) and a few bunches of that green stuff and it cost me 3,40 euro.

Put this city on your "to visit someday" list!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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