Matera, in southern Italy, is a city like no other. It rises up out of a canyon and is studded with sassi, ancient cave dwellings that were once slums but are now filled with restaurants, B & B’s and souvenir shops – although it’s still much less touristy than most of Italy. It’s one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1993.
We’ll be looking at Matera in another post but in the meantime, I want to share some photos from the market we found as we were walking from the railway station (Matera Centrale) to the historic city centre. The Central Market in Via Ascanio Persio is quite small but it offers all the deliciousness that you expect to find in a country where food is taken so seriously: beautiful cheese, cold cuts, fresh fruit and veg, seafood and meat.
The fruit and veg stalls are clustered in the Piazza Ascanio Persio, an attractive open-air meeting place with terracotta tiled floor, copper roofs and decorated majolica. It’s your typical Italian market where vendors shout out prices for their goods, old men gather to talk, and little old ladies wearing black scoop up fresh ricotta and piping hot bread.
Other goods are sold in the surrounding stores: the macelleria for chicken and meat, the salumeria for ham and cold meats, the panificio for bread and focaccia. If you find yourself in Matera – and I highly recommend you do – pop in to the Central Market and discover some of the lovely fresh produce of Italy’s Basilicata region.
If you go:
Via Ascanio Persio
I can’t find any opening times so you’ll just have to try your luck.