Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an unparalleled city whose history unfolds seamlessly from the Palaeolithic Age to the present day. A visit here, meandering among the houses dug into the stone, the small rock churches, the steeply climbing streets and some enchanting views, weaves a journey through time difficult to describe in words. From the Greek settlers to the Romans, from the Lombards to the Saracens, from the Normans to the Aragonese, dozens of peoples and dynasties have trodden its ground, leaving tangible – sometimes traumatic, sometimes sublime – signs of their passing.

After centuries of neglect, in the 1950s the recovery began of what has now become an outright gem. In 2019, the city of the Sassi and European Capital of Culture, shines brighter than ever and reveals its beauty to the world. What better time to be entranced by its magic?