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Prehistoric cave hotel: Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita

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Restored with ultimate respect to local tradition, Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, situated in the Sassi area of Matera, a town in Southern Italy is a 9,000-year-old Italian cave dwelling. Literally cut into the volcanic tufa of the Matera hillside, the caves of Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita were originally a stronghold for Italian peasants. Forcibly removed in the 1950s, many of the peasants came back against the government’s wishes. Today, the area has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is attracting curious travelers to its snaking rooftop streets, craggy hillside drop offs, and stone cathedrals.

At Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, great care was put into restoring the 18-room hotel. They were very clever in keeping the integrity of the caves intact by using the original architectural materials from the area, disguising the use of modern technology and maintaining the new design to a minimum. The decor of the rooms is very basic using plain furniture built out of recycled materials, yet keeping the rural historic tradition through colors, textures, scents and even candles identified with the area. Where elements needed to be added to bring in modern amenities, like freestanding Stark baths, were chosen based on their unobtrusive design. Their philosophy was not to betray the ‘soul’ of the building, but to preserve the caves’ rural heritage. Stunning perspectives, original hand-hewn church building blocks, and some dramatic illumination make for magical moments at this extraordinary hotel.

To stay at this sensational boutique hotel, rates start at $131 per night, from here.

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