Observatory of the UNESCO site of the Sassi di Matera

Among the specific objectives of the UNESCO Chair, included in the Convention between UNESCO and the University of Basilicata, there is the specific contribution to the creation of the Permanent Observatory for the “Management Plan of The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera“. The Observatory is the coordination and operating structure of the UNESCO Site Management Plan, and the UNESCO Chair, in this regard, contributes to the start of a process for the creation of the Observatory, for the implementation of the plan itself, both with research and documentation for the knowledge of the cultural landscape of the UNESCO site of Matera, and with actions to raise awareness of institutions and community involvement to promote participation in the processes of recognition and enhancement of cultural heritage. With the actions for the Observatory of the Sassi, the Chair has collaborated on some objectives for Matera European Capital of Culture for 2019, and contributes to the legacy processes following the great event.

The actions of the UNESCO Chair for the Observatory of the UNESCO site of the Sassi di Matera are: the study of a legal and operational model for the Observatory, identified in the form of the Community Foundation; the awareness of a number of society’s subjects and their involvement in the signing of a Participatory Document of Intent for the Observatory of the UNESCO site of the Sassi di Matera; the documentation, the knowledge system and the planning of research related to the site.


The 2018 and 2019 editions of the ERT programme were also aimed at the creation of the Observatory of the UNESCO site of the Sassi di Matera. 

In addition, other actions are planned, which aim to involve government institutions, the school world, economic actors in general, and in particular the world of cultural production and creative industries, associations, volunteering and civil society in general. To this end, the UNESCO Chair uses and experiments with facilitation tools to orient people to become “Communities of Knowledge“. 

For the implementation of the site documentation, some research is underway. A research project is the Archaeological Atlas of the Sassi, as part of the Progetto Chora-laboratori di archeologia in Basilicata (a project of the SSBA – School of Specialization in Archaeological Heritage of the University of Basilicata, in partnership with the University of Roma Tor Vergata and the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris). 

Another research project is I-DEA Archive of Demo-Ethno-Anthropological Archives, a pivotal project of the Matera European Capital of Culture program for 2019, for the “Raccolta, catalogazione, archiviazione e digitalizzazione di documenti memoriali e testimonianze orali in funzione della realizzazione di un primo ‘exhibit’ dell’Istituto Demo-Etno-Antropologico“. The project also includes the collection of oral testimonies (in audio-video format) of the inhabitants of the Rione Sassi in Matera, relating to the historical period between the 1950s and 1970s of the 20th century, and objects of affection useful for the realization of some exhibits for the I-DEA Project, realized during 2019.