Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario (Cave House of Lonely Alley), Matera

Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario (Cave House of Lonely Alley), Matera (must see)

A short walk from Sassi di Matera, the cave district of Matera, is Casa Grotta, the historic Cave House of Lonely Alley (Vico Solitario). Cave houses were abandoned by law in 1952. A visit to the Cave House in Lonely Alley will give an idea of what existence was like for the tenants in their caves.

The entrance arch of the Cave House, framed by a large rock cavity, is the only built element standing by the cave. The most recent changes within the cave date from the 1700s. In a large single room, spaces are marked out by furnishings. In the hearth/kitchen is a table with one large plate from which everyone had eaten.

A bed made of iron trestles and planks holds a corn mattress. Across from the bed is a manager for the family mule. On the other side of a partition are a space where the tufa rock is quarried and a circular pit for manure. There is a system for water collection consisting of canals and a cistern.

There is a brazier, a laundry tub, and a communal oven. The bed is high off the floor, away from dampness. The stables and like rooms are in the back. The kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedroom spaces are in the front for better light and aeration.

When the district was abandoned, it became a cave ghost town. Since then, however, many caves have been restructured as tourist lodgings and Bed & Breakfasts. Even with these improvements, the voices and aromas of 100 years ago seem to linger.

In the ancient snow collection cave nearby, B&W documentary videos show the lives of the cave people of yore. The neighboring rock church of San Pietro Monterrone dates from the 9th century AD.

The Cave House Museum is managed by Matera Theater Group (Gruppo Teatro Matera), a non-profit cultural association.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Matera. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario (Cave House of Lonely Alley) on Map

Sight Name: Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario (Cave House of Lonely Alley)
Sight Location: Matera, Italy (See walking tours in Matera)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Matera, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Matera

Create Your Own Walk in Matera

Creating your own self-guided walk in Matera is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Matera's Ancient Cave Churches

Matera's Ancient Cave Churches

Within the old city of Matera, there are more than 160 churches. Many of these are actually carved into the soft limestone cliffs lining the Gravina River. There are even some used for pagan rituals. The churches were carved from existing caves and tunnels. More than a few sanctified cave churches have been converted to storage and homes.

A good example to start with is the St. Anthony...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Matera Introduction Walking Tour

Matera Introduction Walking Tour

Architectural historian Anne Parmly Toxey said the cave areas of Matera had been occupied for at least 3,000 years. There have been settlements in Matera since the Paleolithic era.

The town itself was founded in 251 BC by Roman consul Lucius Caecilius Metellus. He called it Matheola. Subsequently, the town was occupied by Longobards, Byzantines, Saracens, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese, and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles