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FROM AND TO MATERA

THE STORY

The story of the Sassi di Matera

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Matera: etymology of the name

According to recent surveys the origins of Matera and the Sassi date back to the Paleolithic era. There are no definite traces about the origins of the name of the city. Various are the theses of its etymological origins. According to one of these theses the name was given by the Romans who called it Mateola.

It is assumed that the name was derived from the Greek "Metaio olos" that is, all empty.Other historians, however, believe that the name Mateola was given by the Roman Consul Quintus Cecilio Metello who rebuilt the city in 90 a. C..

Other theories attribute the origins of the name Mathera to the term mata (heap of stones) or even the union of the first syllables of the two destroyed cities of Metaponto and Heraclea whose inhabitants founded the city of Matera.

Sassi di Matera

From the Paleolithic to the present day

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Walking through the Rioni Sassi you notice that the various houses do not have a pre-established architecture. Each house, in fact, is placed on a level different from the other. However, it can be noted that the districts are divided into housing units located according to the natural morphology of the site.

These housing units consisted of a common area called Neighborhood that connected the various houses with the church. The Rioni Sassi in fact have hundreds of small rock churches. The various houses were obtained in the rock made of limestone and porous material and easily moldable. 

The various infiltrations of water inside the rock allowed their inhabitants drinking water in the house collected and decanted naturally in natural tanks and a constant temperature inside the cave.

The Castle of Count Giancarlo Tramontano

In memory of a history of oppression, the Tramontano Castle is visible from most of the city. The city of Matera had repeatedly managed to free itself from the feudal yoke paying several ransoms and trying to remain free city to autonomous regiment, then directly dependent on the Royal Crown.

Unfortunately, the promises to the materani of the new king of Naples, Ferdinand II, no longer to cede the city to any feudatory, were not kept. In fact, Count Tramontano, who had claims against the Royal Treasury, asked for and obtained the County of Matera in 1496. In 1501 the Count began the construction of the castle on the so-called "hill of Lapillo", near the current historic center of Matera. 

The Said Castle is in Aragonese style with a central male and two lower side towers. Both round and scalloped are also equipped with slits. The Count never saw the end of the construction of the castle and was killed in the first half of 1500 by a revolt of the people of Matera. The count, in fact, soon became unpopular with materani because to meet his debts he taxed the population with heavy taxes. The castle is still unfinished.

Sassi di Matera Castello Tramontano

On September 21, 1943

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One of the most important awards of the city of Matera is undoubtedly the historical one. To have been, in September 21, 1943, the first city to rebel against the Nazifasciti. In memory of this tragic and important acknowledgment there is exposed in the Main Square of the city a plaque that reads: 

ON THE TRAGIC DAY

21 IX 1943

WHILE THE DEVASTATING GERMANS

THEY WERE COMMITTING HORRENDOUS SLAUGHTER

OF INNOCENT HOSTAGES

THE PEOPLE OF MATERA

INSURGENT WITH ARMS

HE HUNTED THE FIERCE ENEMY

AND WITH SACRIFICE

OF HIS CHILDREN

HE BOUNCHED BACK

TO THE FREEDOM

 

WARNING TO THE OPPRESSORS

INCITEMENT TO THE OPPRESSED

21 SEPTEMBER 1944

Immediately after the armistice The fascists abandoned the. Palace of Militia which was occupied by German soldiers who were preparing for retreat. The people of Matera, in these days. , was exasperated and forced to suffer several abuses and looting by the Nazis. These days the situation became increasingly tense. The raids and arrests of civilians and military detained by the Germans in the Palace of the Militia began, including Natale Farina and Pietro Tataranni, two maternal soldiers returning from the front arrested on 21 September.

The spark that sparked the gunfight between Materani and Tedeschi was the killing of two German soldiers who were in a jewelry store. It wasn’t worth trying to hide the two bodies. The news spread quickly through the city and, soon after, an Austrian soldier who was in a shaving room was stabbed by another maternal citizen. In the following hours a violent guerrilla warfare led by Lieutenant Nitti broke out and decided to arm both the military and civilians in various strategic areas of the city. The invaders also besieged the palace of electricity to leave the city in the dark and exploded the palace of the Militia in which they had locked up some materani. 

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Sassi di Matera

The story of Sassi di Matera

The birth of the Sassi di Matera from the Paleolithic to the present day. A city rich in history and continuously inhabited up to the present day. Matera and UNESCO

 

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Sassi di Matera

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Life in the Sassi of Matera through the blanket of local crafts, typical dishes and rock churches

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