After 10,000 years, the ancient city in Basilicata is having a moment: it’s a European capital of culture for 2019 – and even James Bond is making a visit
‘This room is called Senza Nidd – without anything – because the people who lived here were so poor,” said the receptionist. Our modest-sized hotel room in Matera, southern Italy, once housed an entire family – not back in the middle ages, but within living memory. Matera, a troglodyte city in Basilicata, was considered “the shame of Italy” in the 1950s because of the extreme poverty and widespread disease in its ancient Sassi districts. The residents were compulsorily relocated and the crumbling city, thought to be possibly the third-oldest in the world after Aleppo and Jericho, lay empty for the first time in 10,000 years.