The Sassi district of Matera, perched on the edge of a deep ravine. The people of Matera once lived here in the dwellings scooped out of the rock, known as the Sassi (cave) disctrict. From the 8th - 13th century these caves provided refuge for monks from Basilicata. Many chapels, also gouged out of the rock, were taken over in the 15th century by peasants. By the 18th century some of these dwellings had become grand mansions and convents. In the 1950's and 60's the Sassi were again overtaken by squalor and poverty. As we walked the streets we noticed some dwellings were still being occupied.