Travelers with a penchant for adventure now have the opportunity to experience an entirely different way of life without having to forego the comfort a vacation should provide. The Sassi Di Matera Albergo Diffuso hotel in Matera, Italy, transformed ancient caves into the modern solution to a peaceful retreat, while maintaining the site’s historical beauty.
Tucked away in Southern Italy, the latest thing in exotic vacation opulence has surfaced. A brand-new hotel with all the modern amenities will open its doors in April 2009. However, the rooms were built to accommodate their first guests 2,000 years ago.
The Sassi Di Matera Albergo Diffuso hotel in Matera, Italy, is currently the only hotel in the world to be located in prehistoric caves. With natural stone walls and antique furniture, each room has been lovingly reconstructed to maintain the beauty and simplicity of the existing cave structure. The atmosphere is unbelievable. In an effort to infuse the caves with as much historical authenticity as possible, the electric lighting has been hidden within the walls, creating a soft glow throughout, emulating warm candlelight. The furniture in every room is either antique or recreated in the traditional fashion by area craftsmen.
Considered the first human settlement in Italy, the Sassi Di Matera, or Stones of Matera, consists of thousands of man-made caves, dwellings carved directly into the volcanic rock hillside leading up to the bustling present day city of Matera. The Sassi is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site. The organization has this to say of the Sassi: “This is the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem. The first inhabited zone dates from the Paleolithic, while later settlements illustrate a number of significant stages in human history.” The astonishing cultural and historical significance of the site is what led to the creation of the Sassi Di Matera Albergo Diffuso hotel. Three objectives were set: They were only going to use materials found in the original architecture; they would disguise any modern technology; and they would only introduce new design elements when absolutely necessary—such as the installation of running water.