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6 November 2018

Soul-Stirringly Beautiful

The italian term sassi literally means ‘stones’ (Photo credit: Loris Silvio Zecchinato)

Become acquainted with and photograph the sassi within the Gravine di Matera Natura 2000 site.


The cave dwellings of Sassi di Matera are located in the oldest part of the city of Matera in Basilicata, southern Italy (Photo credit: Maurizio Balestrieri)

It is time to get your camera and walking shoes ready and explore the cave dwellings of the Sassi di Matera (i.e. the stones of Matera), a remarkable, atmospheric and haunting prehistoric settlement in Italy. The sassi date back as far as 7,000 years BC and can only be described as terrific in their beauty.

The Sassi di Matera, located within the Natura 2000 site Gravine di Matera (i.e. the ravines of Matera) and in the oldest part of the city of Matera, Southern Italy, housed a prehistoric settlement thought to be among the first of its kind in the whole Italic Peninsula. A community of cave men, in other words. A Neolethic testimony of the 3rd oldest city in the world is the recently discovered Serra d’Alto pottery, which indicates the extraordinary artistry of the craft sector in ancient times.

Moreover, the Gravine di Matera site itself serves to protect 63 species of the Nature Directives, such as the Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) and the Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) and 8 habitat types of the Habitats Directive such as the Eastern sub-mediteranean dry grasslands (Scorzoneratalia villosae).

Both its exceptional value for cultural heritage and its cultural connection with natural parameters allow for the Sassi to act as a perfect spot to shoot your photo for our contest. So, go on and get an idea of this unique Natura 2000 & UNESCO World Heritage Site yourself, take an extraordinary picture and participate in our “Go Wild! Stay Cultured” Photo Contest!

The deadline to submit your photographs is 18 November 2018!