Nothing prepares you for the sight of the sassi in Matera. Just over the border from Puglia, Matera is a one of a kind village, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one attraction that I just couldn’t miss on this trip. Matera has been inhabited since the Prehistoric Age and it was used as a refuge by hunters as early as the Paleolithic Age. It is an archeological wonderland, one that I will barely scratch the surface of on my short visit. The area known as the Sassi of Matera has provided shelter for more than 9,000 years and the area that is currently visible dates back to the Greek and Roman times. There are thousands of troglodyte dwellings carved into the rock, creating a vision that is almost sureal. The vision is very eery.
My birthday bicycling journey begins in Matera. We arrived this morning and will tour the town before beginning to bicycle on Sunday morning. Today will be a day of touring and adjusting to European time. It is an incredible start to a memorable trip.