Matera, The Jewel of Basilicata
The province of Matera is a trove of delicacies, which epitomise the essence of Basilicata. The local government and associations are now promoting the riches of the province while capitalising and the growing popularity of the Sassi, the ancient cave dwellings inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Matera: territory and products
The province of Matera stretches from the Apulian Murgia down to the Ionian Sea and is rich in tourist attractions, from the pristine beaches on the Ionian coast to the artefacts and sites of historical and cultural relevance from the 4th century BC, in the prime of the Magna Graecia era. The whole territory is scattered with small villages perched on the mountain, where time seems to be standing still. But the big draw is Matera and its famous Sassi (“stones”), the ancient limestone cave dwellings, deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
The Matera region boasts a basketful of typical products: from sheep and cow’s milk cheeses, such as the renowned caciocavallo made with milk of the Podolica cattle breed, to fresh and processed meats; from hand-made pasta to bakery products, namely the Matera Bread IGP (or PGI, Protected Geographical Indication); from the Matera DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) wines to the extra-virgin oil. Matera is also known for its honey production, which is the touchstone of a healthy environment, as well as for its countless orchards in the Metapontine area. Furthermore, the Matera region is famous for a considerable production of horseradish, which is one of the traditional condiments of Basilicata.
Matera: good food and tourism
Matera attracts visitors from all over the world, especially Japan. For this reason the provincial government has undertaken an ambition programme aimed at promoting the territory and its food through tourism and food and wine itineraries. Wine, olive, extra-virgin olive oil and bread bakery items are deeply rooted to the territory, of which they have become the best representative symbols.