Matera is surely Italy’s most extraordinary town. A sable- and granite-coloured patchwork of buildings tops two dizzying ravines. Its famous sassi (stone houses carved out of the caves and cliffs) were once the scene of terrible poverty, with overcrowded caves home to livestock and their owners – one of modern Italy’s great scandals. It’s easy to see why Mel Gibson chose this cave-pocked, torn and craggy setting to film The Passion of Christ.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009