Residents promote & protect THEIR Matera

Matera is getting ready to begin its adventure as Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture. The city is bustling and preparing for a new influx of tourists.

Perhaps no previous European city crowned with the honor of cultural capital had peaked as much curiosity from travelers outside of Europe. Great visuals and storytelling make Matera a natural star for international media.

Americans are especially enamored by Matera, but even Europeans more used to antiquity marvel at these cave dwellings inhabited since prehistory, described in a NY Times article as having layers like a sfogliatella (a well-known pastry from the south of Italy).

Italy’s abundance of spectacular stimuli at every turn is remarkable, but as the author of a recent New Yorker article commented, “even amid this bounty there is something exceptional about Matera.”

Divertimento Group’s (DG) World Premiere LOCALS-FIRST tourism model uses native born residents as the designers of their unique people-to-people adventures. Divertimento Group can claim to be the “Matera Specialists” because they have asked “Materani” (what the city’s inhabitants are called) to show visitors THEIR Italy.

The Italy visitors haven’t met yet!™

Enzo Maranghino is one such Materani, who with wife Jennifer works closely with DG on developing Matera adventures. He was born and raised in Matera. We invite you to listen to Enzo’s description of HIS Matera and what it was like growing up there. Translated into English by Divertimento Group’s Lesley Pritikin. Click here for original Italian text.

“Popularity can be both a gift and a curse when it comes to tourism. Once a destination has reached tipping point, the result can alienate locals, push infrastructure to its limits and consequently impact negatively on the visitor experience.” – Helen Coffey, The Independent

Matera – Beyond the “Sassi”

The European capital of culture initiative was launched in 1985 to encourage a sense of community within the European cities as well as to highlight diversity within the EU. In the last decades, cities with this honorable distinction have seen enormous benefits from increased tourism. That is why DG wants to encourage travel professionals and travelers to visit the city in a way that shows it at its best - at its least crowded moments.

Divertimento Group’s Matera adventures will show visitors more than the well known cave areas, termed the “Sassi” – so they can have memorable, authentic experiences and, at the same time, positively impact residents’ quality of life.

Divertimento Group’s Matera adventures are part of the company’s STOP Overtourism in Italy initiative.

Cultural tourism fosters respect for local populations through participation in cultural immersion activities and people-to-people experiences.


Winning “cultural capital” cities receive funds for the creation of year-long programs that stimulate economic development and cultural tourism.

Special promotional trip to Matera off-season

Please contact La Dolce Via Travel Divertimento Group’s USA cultural adventure agency or send an email (Rosanne[at] if you would like to sign up for a special promotional trip to Matera to see the city the way the residents want you to see it – off-season, before the summer crowds arrive!

Visit Matera’s cave hotels and restaurants. Ask us about our gourmet cave and cave luxury experiences.

Our Mission

Leading the STOP Overtourism Movement with travel professionals everywhere…