In 1964 Pier Paolo Pasolini chose it to set his Gospel according to Matthew : the scenario presented to those who discovered the Sassi for the first time was very similar to that of Palestine. A few decades later, two other directors followed Pasolini’s example. In 1985, among the houses carved into the rock of the historic center of Matera was filmed King David by Bruce Beresford and in 2004 Mel Gibson set his The Passion right among the ravines of the Lucanian city. The resemblance of Matera to the lands where Jesus was born and lived make the European Capital of Culture 2019 the ideal location for events related to Christmas.
Also this year among the Sassi the living nativity scene was organized : in the streets of the Sasso Barisano – one of the two districts of the historical center of the city – the actors will stage six different moments, ranging from the Annunciation to the birth of Jesus. the first 5 dates of the performance – which starts on December 8 – has already been sold out. Who, however, has chosen to spend the Christmas holidays in the Lucanian city can attend the living nativity scene on December 29th and 30th. For fans of the genre also an exhibition of handmade cribs and the ‘living’ representation of the Adoration of the Shepherds by the painter Mattia Preti made by a group of particular actors: they are the figures of Avigliano, a town in the province of Potenza known since the early ‘900 for the realization of the plastic frameworks . The paintings of the most famous artists in history are reproduced by these interpreters who, real estate and with period clothes, use their body to transform the canvas into three-dimensional works.
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During the Christmas holidays in Matera will be then organized tours, even at night, between the Sassi and visits of the rock churches, places of worship in the Middle Ages by the Byzantine monks dug into the stone. On the streets of the historic center will be set up the markets.