The First Encounter

Matera, Italy, 2015

The first time I arrived in Matera it was night and raining. I booked a room next to the Cathedral. The square was empty, just a few lights on. I remember falling asleep with the view of the Sasso Barisano impressed in my mind. I could not think that around the corner another face of the city would reveal itself. The next day—it was December 11, 2015—I walked a bit before entering the Sasso Caveoso. The stairway, the arch, the little wall: the Murgia opened up to something I couldn’t imagine. It was the first time I noticed that ruin. Among so many renovated buildings, converted into hotels, bars, and restaurants, I got struck by the potential of the neighborhood. It was right outside the tourist routes, with families still living in the area, and a basketball hoop left as a trace of the boys who used to meet there.