Italy TravelMatera Enters Spotlight for 2019

Matera Enters Spotlight for 2019
Published on Saturday, January 26, 2019 by

The city of Matera, deep in Italy’s Basilicata region has a big year on the horizon. It is the European Capital of Culture for 2019, and the title is a source of pride for the entire nation, but especially for the residents of the city.

Matera is unlike any other city in the world. Houses are carved into mountains’ rocky landscape and some have been continuously inhabited for centuries by the same family. The old neighborhood of Matera, the Sassi, shined magnificently as a beacon of the city’s far-reaching cultural heritage and the beauty that remains today.

On January 22, The Italian president, Giuseppe Conte and the Minister of Cultural Heritage, Alberto Bonisoli, inaugurated the city’s yearlong event. Fourteen bands played, choirs sang and the ceremony joyously called for a start to the year’s events. Five thousand dishes of carpiata, a dish typical of the city, were served to the performers as fireworks light up the night sky behind the unique Matera skyline.

Blue lights shine on the churches, creating a magical scene. Over the course of the coming months, spotlights will shine on particular aspects of Lucanian culture and visitors will have opportunities to speak with, learn from and share meals with the locals of the region. A symbol of Italy’s mezzogiorno– the nickname for the south of the peninsula- Matera is home to widely unknown traditions that are sure to make for memorable experiences for national and international visitors.

Organized over the course of seven years and with a cost of nearly 50 million euros, Matera’s year as a capital of culture expects to bring about 700,000 visitors over the course of the 12 months to the city and the surrounding region.

By Kathy McCabe

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