The province of Matera is located in the southern Italian region of Basilicata; it is bathed on the east by the Ionian Sea. The province is divided roughly into two zones: one that is mainly flat and one that is made up of a number of hills. Two WWF Oases are found within the province, the San Giuliano Lake and the Pantano di Policoro Forest; there is also the Gallipoli Cognato Park, the Piccole Dolomiti Lucane Park and an archaeological park that encompasses the churches built into the cliffs present throughout the province (called the Park of the Rupestrian Churches). Along with the rupestrian churches, the historical center of the province’s capital city, also called Matera, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera sights to see include all the various houses and buildings built out of rock that seem to take visitors underground through some occult passage. Indeed, Mel Gibson filmed many scenes from his film, The Passion of the Christ, in the narrow 2000-year-old streets of the city. If you’re in the region of Basilicata for a weekend, Matera could be the perfect place to visit.
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