The Sassi are two ancient districts partly excavated and partly built with the soft sedimentary stone typical of the Murgia. They are a great example of spontaneous architecture, developed gradually starting from 'eighth century AD, and without any planning, on the slopes of the two small rock basins on either side of the hill of Civita, the first settlement of the city of Matera made during the Magna Graecia age, between the sixth and fifth centuries BC.
The Sasso Barisano opens with the baroque church of S.Agostino with the adjoining convent and the underlying rock church of S.Giuliano, to proceed with the Casa Cava and next to the rock church of San Pietro Barisano, and then visit a typical workshop of a potter, the magnificent undergrounds of San Giorgio, and finally the Sassi in miniature.
The Civita is dominated by the duomo, the Romanesque cathedral built between 1230 and 1270 near the oldest Norman castle of wich nothing is left but the name: in fact that area is now called Castelvecchio (Oldcastle). All around the ancient buildings of noble families and the diocesan curia with the magnificent Hall of Arms. This area was fortified and still are visible parts of the medieval wall with several towers, such as the Torre Metellana.
The Sasso Caveoso has its center in Piazza S.Pietro, which leads to Vico Solitario to explore the historic Casa Grotta.
A little further you find the cave monastery of Santa Lucia alle Malve that has for "roof" the ancient barbaric graveyard. In high-rise the rupestrian churches of Santa Maria de Idris and S.Giovanni in Monterrone, to enjoy then a wonderful system of water collection and finally the stone complex of Convicinio of S. Antonio with the old millstones for the production of wine, that from '700 transformed it into a big cellar.