Matera, Italy

The incredible ancient province of Matera was built in and around a big canyon carved out by the Gravina River. The whole region of Basilicata (in southern Italy) is filled with limestone caves, canyons, and crazy rock formations that apparently were inhabited since Paleolithic times. We spent a couple of hours hiking though crumbled buildings and pathways in the Historical center "Sassi”, which truthfully is QUITE the workout - but so worth it! It’s the kind of place that’s perfect for aimless wandering. Anywhere you stop, you’ll have a postcard-worthy panoramic view right before your eyes. It’s hard to believe it was known as “the shame of Italy” back in the 50s and 60s because of the poverty of its inhabitants at the time. Thankfully, ever since UNESCO placed the site on the World Heritage List, it has completely gained a new life though tourism and preservation - but the kind of tourism that hasn’t ruined it’s great authentic cultural ambiance.