"Sassi", the old town of Matera (Southern Italy): First aid for geotourists in the "European Capital of culture 2019"

Marcello Tropeano, Luisa Sabato, Vincenzo Festa, Domenico Capolongo, Claudio Ivan Casciano, Domenico Chiarella, Salvatore Gallicchio, Sergio G. Longhitano , Massimo Moretti, Marco Petruzzelli, Giusy Schiuma, Luigi Spalluto, Federico Boenzi, Piero Pieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The old town of Matera (southern Italy) is an urban area included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993 and Matera has recently been designated as European Capital of Culture 2019. Since prehistoric times, the old town, called "Sassi di Matera" ("sassi" is the Italian word for stones), has been spectacularly dug in a "soft rock" (a Quaternary calcarenite). This rupes-trian settlement is perched in the upper part of the right side of the "Gravina di Matera", a canyon cutting the so called "Murgia Materana", the barren rocky high in front of the town. An increasing number of tourists is attracted by itineraries crossing the "Sassi di Matera", and, due to the intimate connection be-tween the old town and the geological anatomy of the area, each touristic itinerary could become an urban geotour or could be enriched by geological information. The aim of the present paper is to offer simple geological information to tourists who are visiting the old town of Matera, giving them the opportunity to admire the amazing geology of the area and to be intrigued in understanding the development of the crossed landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalAlpine and Mediterranean Quaternary
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Geology
  • Geotourism
  • Sassi di Matera
  • Gravina di Matera
  • Murgia Materana
  • Southern Italy

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