Matera 2019 European City of Culture
We are thrilled that the city of Matera is designated as a European Capital of Culture for 2019. Residents
and visitors will enjoy an entire year of concerts, art exhibitions, and events showcasing everything that
makes Matera a city to place at the top of your travel bucket list. When you reserve a spot on our
Amazing Apulia Bike Tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the wonders of Matera before you begin
your ride down the Apulian Coast.
Of all the cities in Italy, why would the European Union select Matera for this honor? Visiting Matera is
like stepping back in time. It is one of the oldest continuous communities in the world and home to two
UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
The “Sassi” are cave dwellings, dating back thousands of years, carved into the rocky landscape in the
heart of Matera. Most are still occupied by residents and businesses and renovated for modern
conveniences. On the first night of the Amazing Apulia tour you’ll get to experience these unique
accommodations when you stay in our host hotel, which is located in the Sassi. Imagine sleeping in the
same place where people from the Paleolithic Era once lived!
The Park of the Rupestrian Churches features over 150 breathtaking houses of worship carved from
soft, porous tufa rock. Here you’ll find preserved frescoes of religious art dating as far back as the 14th
century. These ancient sites are popular among television and film companies – Matera served as one of
the filming locations for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ because it looked like old Jerusalem.
At the beginning of our bike tour, Siciclando’s guides welcome all guests with an afternoon cocktail and
the option of a walking tour through the Sassi and some of the Rupestrian churches. It’s a great way to
warm up for the next six days of cycling, and when you book a tour for 2019 you’ll have the added
experience of visiting the 2019 Capital of Culture. Their official site details all the concerts, films, and
special exhibits planned for the year, so if you want to time a custom tour with us to coincide with an
event please contact us.