Traveling through Matera’s community

Cultour is Capital Blogger Experience had a second chapter in Matera (Italy). The videographer, Emiliano Bechi Gabrielli, and the bloggers of The Crowded Planet, Margherita and Nick traveled to experience the Italian city to live first-hand different itineraries based on transformative tourism experiences, carefully planned by the work of TraCEs TLabs. The objective of this journey is to do a pilot test so that Bloggers live the transformative experience and have a first-hand narration of the adventure in our new and coming soon platform: Game of TraCEs.

Photo by Emiliano Bechi

Co-living Experience

The first encounter took place in the Wonder Grottole house where the bloggers lived an authentic co-living experience. Wonder Grottole is an experimental project that involves and connects people and energies from all over the world. It is a social enterprise that works to rehabilitate the historic center of the village of Grottole, thanks to the regeneration of abandoned houses and the creation of a new community. Grottole is a high depopulation risk village near Matera. This experience means to live an authentic path into the real life of this town, entering houses, being for a while, part of the community. They met many local people, discovered traditions, and participated in many activities.

Silent City Experience

The second journey was living the Silent City, an Opera written by the community for the community. It has been produced by l´Abero for the European Capital of Culture Matera 2019, and now it is a transformative tourism experience in the Sassi districts of Matera. A perfect match between creative and cultural industries and tourism. A walk in the Sassi of Matera, looking for sounds, clues, objects, inspiration to write and share a personal story. A touristic and creative experience at the same time. People that join this journey live deeply all the suggestions of the place in a creative way. It is not simply a walk; participants slowly immerse themselves in a place looking for sensitive details that become parts or inspiration for their own story. 

The trip to Matera as the bloggers described was “eye-opening”. Margherita from The Crowded Planet concluded after it: “Grottole taught me about the value of community – it was great to see how an entire community got together to save a dying village, and as outsiders, it was wonderful to appreciate how close-knit and welcoming that community is. I also learned about the ‘Italian Sabbatical’ project, and I was able to appreciate how the synergy between travelers and locals produced really creative solutions.” As well, she explained that the Silent city was “a tour unlike any other, probably one of the best I’ve ever done”, adding that being guided by an artist meant learning that it is important to explore beyond the surface, using not just our eyesight but all five senses.Both experiences taught the bloggers that travel can be a transformative experience when looked beyond sights and experiences. Visiting a local’s home in Grottole for a coffee or sitting with their eyes closed in the streets of Matera listening to the sounds of the city, it is much more rewarding than a regular tour focusing on historical facts.