Capture the beauty of Matera - the European Capital of Culture 2019

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Matera – European Capital of Culture 2019


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The understated gem of southern Italy, Matera is steeped in history spanning back more than 7,000 years. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, its stunning stairways, narrow lanes and ancient streets echo with tales longing to be told. In 2019 they’ll be doing just that, as the combined efforts of 117 artists and curators present to you this European Capital of Culture.

Culture vultures will find a stay in one of our traditional villas or trulli in Puglia will bring them within driving distance of the fascinating festivities. Between day trips to Matera and getting to grips with this charming region itself, you’ll soon realise you can have your panettone and eat it!

Captivating both locals and visitors alike, there are at least five activities to experience every day throughout 2019. Here’s (some of) what they have in store…

Reflections and Connections

Living the Opera
2nd – 4th & 8th – 11th August 2019
Location: Sasso Caveoso

Dreamt up with one of the oldest theatres in the world – the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli – a performance of ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ will include 200 citizens and members of the public. Bringing one of the most fascinating and thrilling musical genres to the hauntingly beautiful Sassi district, the opera will be performed entirely outdoors.

Continuity and Disruptions

Sassi of Matera

The Beautiful Shame
10th, 13th & 14th August 2019
Location: San Paolo Albanese

Rewind 50 years and the living conditions of the Sassi district put the rest of Italy to shame, but today ‘Matera’s shame’ is treasured as beauty. Brace yourself for a dramatic and bewitching blend of theatre, video, dance and music.

Utopias and Dystopias

A break-dancer showcasing his moves

Festival Open Playful Space
25th May – 2nd June 2019
Location: Piazza Cesare Firrao, Rione Serra Rifusa and “Boschetto” Park

The aim of the game is to make ‘invisible spaces accessible’ through sport, street art and urban acts. Join the crews of athletes and artists who’ll be discovering the dramatic tangle of grottoes, or simply admire their mesmerising moves from a distance!

Ancient Future

Musicians performing to a large crowd

Open Sound
29th August – 1st September 2019
Location: “Le Monacelle” and “Cava del Sole”

The Open Sound music festival celebrates music as an ancestral language of expression. Featuring a series of show-stopping concerts and performances, visitors are welcome to join in if they’re feeling brave!

Roots and Routes

An outdoor classical concert

The Land of Bread
12th – 20th October 2019
Location: Fondazione Sassi

Perhaps the tastiest treat of the lot, you’ll find this culinary highlight at one of the oldest communal ovens in Sasso Barisano. With a mix of performances, shows and concerts, the event will finish with La Terra del Pane (The Land of Bread) Festival, which falls during the wheat harvest.

Where to Stay…

A beautiful trullo with a large pool and landscaped gardens

Surrounded by ancient olive groves and boasting fantastic views over the Valle d’Itria, this modern property contrasts beautifully against the rural landscape on which it stands. Find out more here.

Emma Mackey

Emma Mackey is a Content Executive at James Villa Holidays.

To say I have an obsession with travel would be an understatement. Adventuring with my...

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See all articles by Emma Mackey


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