One of the gifts of being over sixty (actually, well past 60) is the freedom to enjoy learning about other people who inhabit our beautiful planet.
Recently I visited Sicily and Southern Italy. One of the most eye-opening visits was to the ancient urban structure of the Sassi dwellings in Matera in the Basilicata region of Sicily. Known as the Sassi, the inhabitants lived in caves carved out of the side of the mountain. If you enlarge the photo (click to enlarge), you can see how the dwellings and churches seem to be stacked on each other as well as the lava draped over some of the buildings.
Used by international film directors as a setting for biblical movies, the area looks like an ancient Jerusalem. You may see this background in Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of The Christ.”
The idea that people lived in caves as late as the mid-20th Century is mind -boggling. Conditions were such that these people kept their livestock in the caves with them, sometimes for warmth in the winter. They had no running water and often they had only enough food for one meal and that meal went to the worker in the