After Florence, Bologna and Genoa, European Capital of Culture status is now shining a spotlight on another Italian city. The southern Italian city of Matera, one of the world’s longest continuously inhabited cities, is the 2019 European Capital of Culture.

In 1993, the so-called Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera, with its exquisite rock-hewn churches, were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Capital of the province of the same name, Matera is now ready for its 12 months in the spotlight.

2019 European Capital of Culture

This year, the European Union has inaugurated two Capitals of Culture: Matera in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, and Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-biggest city. Both have histories that stretch back thousands of years.

The European Capital of Culture is a year-long event that celebrates culture, richness and diversity in Europe. It aims to promote cities’ development, attract visitors and help people discover the beauty of our lovely continent.

In Matera, the opening celebrations took place on January 19th, with local marching bands from all over the region giving extraordinary performances on the streets of the town.

With a million visitors expected in the coming months, Matera has long been preparing for 50 weeks of events, divided into six main themes, which are:

  • Continuity and divergences;
  • Reflections and connections;
  • Remote future;
  • Roots and paths;
  • Utopias and dystopias.

Matera will host a wide array of events, performances, installations, workshops and exhibitions throughout the year to meet everyone’s tastes and interests.

An interesting project is Edible Orchestra, with musicians playing musical instruments made with fruits and vegetables from a local market. A time capsule called Matera 3019 will show what Matera will be like in the future, inviting people to think about the fragility of the natural landscape.

On July 18th an electronic music concert directed by British composer Brian Eno will be held to celebrate the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Be there for this special moment!

Are you planning to explore the Capital of Culture? We recommend buying the Matera Passport, which will allow you to participate in all events. Please contact us for more detailed information.

New James Bond film to be shot in Matera

Matera’s jaw-dropping landscape has featured in numerous international productions, including Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Saint Matthew and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which was filmed here in 2003.

The 25th James Bond movie will be partly filmed in Matera. Shooting for the new Bond movie directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Daniel Craig in the lead role is scheduled to begin in the city’s historic center on 6th April.


When to go

Matera is not too hot in summer, strikingly beautiful in winter and perfect in between.

Where to stay

We have selected luxury boutique hotels and exclusive candle-lit cave hotels for you. Contact us now to plan your perfect holiday, stress free. Be warned, though: you are very likely to fall in love with Italy’s oldest city and to desire to come back as soon as you get home from your trip!