From China in the limo to get married in the Sassi of Matera

“But who is there, some Hollywood star?”. My eyes dazed by the curious question is at least equal to the surprised expression on the face of the lady from New Zealand that has just addressed it to me. I was taking her and her husband for a guided tour in the Sassi Sunday morning when, just arrived to Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, we are welcomed by an unusual scene: a shiny white limousine at the center of the square and around photographers, cameramen and onlookers.

Sposi cinesi a Matera

Chinese newlyweds in the Sassi

We approach … and the surprises continue: it is not Madonna, not even Brad Pitt or Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham, but … a young just married couple … Chinese! The situation intrigues me so much that I leave my two guests to join the group of onlookers and enjoy the scene closely. But not enough for me, I want to learn more, especially I want to understand why two young Chinese decide to get married in Matera. Oh God, by now it is fashionable among foreigners celebrate their wedding in Italy. But usually they choose the abused settings of Venice, Rome, Florence or medieval towns of Tuscany or maybe the Amalfi Coast. Anyway, they are usually American or British or Eastern European. Chinese ever. Chinese?

“Well, now ‘let’s go take some pictures at the ‘belvedere’, come on!” Photographers and cameramen were local, so nothing strange. Except that the peremptory invitation had left by the groomsman, also of course with almond eyes and yellow skin! Moreover pronounced in perfect Italian with a typical Matera’s pronunciation. And actually only Matera’s people call like this the panoramic terrace at Murgia Timone in the Park of the Rock Churches. Now it is quite clear: the young couple belong to the first generation of “Cino-Materan“.

Gli sposi cinesi nei Sassi, accanto alla limousine

The newlyweds beside the limo

The descendants of Genghis Khan are now many in the town, about 600 regular ones, probably twice the actual ones, which are many out of  60.000 of the whole population of Matera. The first ones came here about twenty years ago to support the local workforce in the golden age of sofa’s industry and then started their own small firms in the same industry, as well as numerous shops. You can see them only there, ever around instead. Sober and reserved. Except, of course, on special occasions. And a wedding is one of them, anyway. So off the brakes and joy and pomp explode: beautiful clothes in impeccable Italian style, not one but more photographers and cameramen nor was the wedding of William and Kate, and especially the “monumental” white limo that for a few minutes steals the gaze of tourists from the amazing scenery of the Sassi and the Murgia. So, from China with fury. To get married and live in Matera. Would have Marco Polo said 800 years ago?

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