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Matera and the Sassi: Unesco World Heritage
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Matera is one of the oldest towns in the world and the surrounding area is bears signs of human settlements from Paleolithic times to modern day. The Sassi of Matera are famous throughout the world. This original urban settlement, originally a series of natural caves hewn out of the rock, developed into a more complex structure located within two large natural amphitheatres: the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano.

The town is in the centre of an incredible rock setting that preserves an enormous cultural and traditional heritages and that is the location of several prestigious national and international exhibitions. In 1993, UNESCO included the Sassi of Matera and the Murgia National Park in World Heritage Sites.
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The Sassi of Matera are dominated by the Cathedral, built during the medieval period. Around Matera there is the Natural Historycal and Archaeological Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera. Other important monuments are the churches S. Francesco d’Assisi, in the homonymous square, San Domenico and San Giovanni Battista placed aroud the Vittorio Veneto square.

On a hill just outside the historic center is the Tramontano Castle. Nearby there is the National Archaeological Museum D. Ridola, housed in the former convent of Santa Chiara. On July 2, Matera celebrates the feast of the Madonna della Bruna, dating back to 1389.
   
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