Matera is a city and a province in the region of Basilicata, in Southern Italy. The city is the capital of the province of Matera and was the capital of Basilicata from 1663 to 1806. The town lies in a small canyon carved out by the Gravina River.  Its geographical location is shown in the maps below.


Our visit to Montescaglioso, located in the Province of Matera, included a day trip to the city of Matera and the Sassi, extensive cave-dwelling districts that date back to the Stone Age.  Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, the area includes the Sassi of Matera and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches.  Because of its resemblance to ancient Jerusalem, Matera has served as the backdrop of several movies including Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" and the recent remake of "Ben Hur."