In a few hours the Matera Balloon Festival gets started, in one of the best frames the South of Italy can offer.
The event, at the 3rd edition, is going to take place from the 8th to 11th of October 2015.
Matera is one of the gems of the South of Italy, located in the stunning, wild region of Basilicata. The city is also designed as European Capital of Culture 2019.
The Festival was originally created and promoted to sustain the candidacy, but it was so successful that, after the victory, new editions have been organized. It is sponsored by the Matera – Basilicata 2019 Foundation, the Basilicata Region and the City of Matera.
Considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Matera is renowned for its prehistorical dwellings called “Sassi“, dug straight into the calcareous rock.
Due to the resemblance to Jerusalem and its surroundings, Matera was used as setting by many filmmakers. Among the most famous, here were shot Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), Bruce Beresford’s King David (1985) and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004).
The town lies in the Murgia, a harsh plateau in between the Puglia and Basilicata regions. Until the `80 Matera and surroundings were considered undeveloped, and relied only on farming and livestock. But after years of diligent administration, the tourism connected to the old town, the Sassi and the Rupestrian Churches was finally endorsed. Matera is also a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993.
For a firsthand photo-walk through the alleys of the town, you can also check my travel blog Blobally.