Some Time in Jerusalem. Wait, I Mean “Matera”

Little Jerusalem-2

At first, Matera was like other places we visited on our tour of Sicily and Italy.  Castle remains on the hill? Check.  Fashionable guide with matching shirt and glasses?  Check.

Little Jerusalem

Ann and Peggy with our Matera guide.

Colorful newstand?  Check.

Little Jerusalem-22

But after a fair amount of climbing uphill, we came to an overlook of the older part of town.

Little Jerusalem-21

This substituted for Jerusalem in the movie “The Passion of the Christ.”  And filming of a remake of “Ben Hur” recently wrapped up here.  I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped when I saw this before me.

Little Jerusalem-20

This area has been inhabited continuously for 11,00 years, starting in caves like the ones below.

Little Jerusalem-19

Early buildings were built to incorporate the caves inside of them.  There is a “new” church, Matera Cathedral, built in the 13th century in the lower left of the picture below.  The older church, built into the rock, is just above and just left of the middle of the picture.

Little Jerusalem-15

Little Jerusalem-13

Matera Cathedral

Little Jerusalem-14

The church in the rock.

Little Jerusalem-9

Inside Matera Cathedral

Little Jerusalem-8

Stained glass windows in Matera Cathedral

Little Jerusalem-18


Little Jerusalem-16

An oasis of color

Little Jerusalem-17

Little Jerusalem-12

Ann and Peggy

Little Jerusalem-10

Larry and Vicki

Little Jerusalem-6

Larry and Larry

We go to tour one of the old homes and get a glimpse of the way life used to be.

Little Jerusalem-5

Little Jerusalem-4

People do actually still live in this neighborhood.

Little Jerusalem-3

Our guide in front of his bed and breakfast

Little Jerusalem-7

Little Jerusalem-11

Modern art beside a Matera mansion