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The European Capital City of Culture

Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world and this year is the European capital of Culture. This magical place is destined to be the most coveted destination in summer 2019. 

Since 1993 the Sassi and the Park of the cave churches of Matera have been World Heritage Sites. Its beauty and the charm that distinguishes it have made the city known in Italy and abroad, so much so that it was chosen as a film set by directors of the likes of Mel Gibson and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Nature and man play a key role in the history, landscape and traditions in Matera, where valuable testimonies of the sacred merge, such as the 150 or more cave churches, which constitute the namesake regional park with the Byzantine frescoes, and not far from the city, the Crypt of the Original Sin, also known as the Sistine Chapel of cave painting. Culture and art are expressed through events and talks taking place in the European Capital of Culture, as part of one of the most prestigious cultural initiatives in Europe. Cities are selected on the basis of a cultural programme that shows a strong European mission, promotes the participation and active involvement of inhabitants and contributes to the long-term development of the city and the surrounding region.

The title of European Capital of Culture also offers cities an excellent opportunity to rebuild their image, become globally known, attract more tourists and rethink their development through culture. The title has a long-term impact, not only on culture but also in social and economic terms, both for the city and for the surrounding region.

The Matera programme, organized under the slogan Open Future, focuses in particular on social and cultural inclusion and collaborative innovation. Among the most noteworthy events are the Ars Excavandi exhibitions – a modern look at the history and culture of hypogean architecture, Renaissance reinterpreted – a journey through the artistic past of regions Basilicata and Puglia, and The poetics of prime numbers – an exhibition on the importance of mathematics in the work of artists of all ages. Matera will also be the scene of the first performance en plein air, in conjunction with the San Carlo theatre, with the opera Cavalleria Rusticana and 27 projects developed with local creative communities and other European partners.