Life in a Cave

A very unusual place, Matera (Italy) claims a >9,000 year-old history as the oldest continuously inhabited European 'city' (really cave-dwellings). A brutal past, now a UNESCO site and stark setting for cinematic rendering of the ancient world, I spent a harrowing night here. Quite a contrast to the 'huggable houses' previously reported. Click for more on this or visit

Unknown Masterpieces

Not since Fra Angelico's work in Florence or Giotto's in Padua, have I been so surprised and impressed by an interior so completely filled with engaging frescoes. In the interior of the church of Santa Caterina (e in Galatina ceilings, walls, even columns are painted. And the style is consistent: a mix of Byzantine and early Renaissance influences that works to make a unique artistic statement. More intimate than the uberfamous Sistine Chapel, these relatively unknown frescoes date mostly from the early 15th C and are in remarkable condition.Most, but not all were completed, and you can occasionally see cartoons of the intended works on the prepared walls (an extra attraction for many artis

Ever Want to Hug a House?

These are real, trulli. That's what these houses, or trulli, are called in Italy. Here, they huddle together in charming Alborobello, Puglia. No people in pointy hats inside. This trip is wonderful. Read more about trulli here, if you like. More on my adventures at

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©Janet Strayer. Unauthorized use or Duplication of these materials without written permission from this owner is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet Strayer with specific direction/link to the original content on this site.