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Trulli Houses of Alberobello & Wine Tasting – Use left and right arrows to see more images...
Day Five

      Another beautiful day. We traveled by bus over winding roads with gorgeous views heading toward our next destination, Matera, in the Basilicata region. Matera is known for its unique Sassi neighborhoods made up of ancient cave dwellings. On our way, we stopped in Alberobello where we sampled local wines, liqueurs and cheeses... a tasting just for our group at a wine shop. After our wine tasting, we explored the curvy, stone streets of this extraordinary town which are lined with Trulli houses, unique to the Puglia region of southern Italy, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the Trulli houses are still lived in today or used as shops. They are whimsical looking dwellings constructed with limestone dry-wall masonry, painted white and topped with conical roofs having a fairytale like effect. Originally thought to be created as cisterns to hold water in a relatively dry area and then covered over as they look today. We arrived in Matera and made it to our hotel which was built in a cave like most everything in this town. It was perched high above the city so our bags were transported for us. As a group, we took a beautiful evening stroll to a cave restaurant and enjoyed another delightful group dinner followed by a leisurely night-time walk back to our hotel.


Day Six
      In the morning, we were guided on a walking tour of the Sassi area of ancient Matera. The city is the third oldest city in the world, after Aleppo and Jericho, with over 10,000 years of history. It is a vast complex of cave dwellings with connected buildings of stone and wood. Our local guide took us to a Sasso home which was recreated to give you an idea of what life was like living in these primitive, rustic caves. You get a glimpse into their cooking, living and sleeping arrangements… they actually shared their living space with their farm animals! On our walking tour we also went into some very old rock churches where we saw frescos on the walls still very colorful after all these years. The incredible scenery seemed to be from biblical times. Mel Gibson chose Matera to film his movie “Passion of the Christ” for this reason. We had the rest of the day free to enjoy the gorgeous views and experience some of the local food and wine. For lunch, we ate a bowl of ear-shaped pasta called orecchiette mixed with tomato sauce, bread crumbs, turnip greens and crunchy crushed peppers called cruschi. For dinner, we found a small takeout and shared a thin crusted calzone filled with an olive mix like caponata then climbed back up the hill to our hotel and had a glass of wine on the veranda with a few of our fellow travelers to share our Matera stories.
Our Group
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