Home > Sul sito Canadese “The Globe and Mail” – A stroll through Matera
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Pubblicato il 17 gennaio 2018

Sul sito Canadese “The Globe and Mail” – A stroll through Matera

A stroll through Matera, Italy makes the case for pedestrian-first cities
Matera will be the European Union’s Capital of Culture, and the community expects tourism to increase from an annual 200,000 to 600,000 visitors.

Sul sito canadese del “The Globe and Mail”  – “A Volkswagen bug sits on top of a limestone column, squashed by one final, huge block. The sculpture, by famed Italian artist Antonio Paradiso, stands at the entrance to an outdoor gallery housed in an old abandoned quarry not far from Matera, a small town in the Italian southern province of Basilicata. The metaphor is not a subtle one. “I think this was Paradiso’s way of saying how he felt about the automobile,” says my guide Dora Cappiello, who was born in Matera and in 2000 returned to start a business specializing in bespoke tourism. “It’s a good representation for Matera – here there are many streets where cars simply can’t go.” And it’s because so much of Matera is cut off from the automobile that it offers a unique opportunity to gain insight into personal mobility. Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world. People have been living here continuously for the past 7,000 years. Matera was built first and foremost for walking and horse-drawn carriages. Even in the 1950s, the primary means of travel was donkey and cart. Unlike North American cities that were built around the automobile, in Matera the car is far from king. This fact influences every aspect of life.  In 2019, Matera will be the European Union’s Capital of Culture, and the community expects tourism to increase from an annual 200,000 to 600,000 visitors. One of the town’s biggest challenges will be how it moves its population and all those tourists around. The automobile is the best way to navigate Basilicata’s gorgeous countryside, and long trips to nearby towns such as Montescaglioso and Miglionico are usually made by car. Here, modern drivers adapt to the previous transportation footprint; the main road into Matera is the SS7, which runs directly on top of the Via Appia, built by the Romans.
Within Matera, though, the most famous attraction is the Sassi district, and there is only one way to properly see it – on foot. The Sassi are subterranean dwellings carved out of the mountain on which Matera sits. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, they are divided into three sections – the Sasso Barisano, the Sasso Caveoso and the Civita district”…

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