Matera: The Shame of Italy

In July 2015 I travelled with Blue Monday to the town of Matera in Italy. Known historically as ‘the shame of Italy’, Matera was known as a city full of criminals and even with its rich heritage of castles and caves, dealt with a lot of prejudice.

Now Matera is emerging as a tourist and desirable location to live. People are returning to the city and moving into the abandoned cave houses. Perhaps the most renowned aspect to the city is the Festival Della Bruna. A celebration of renewal through destruction, the festival sees fireworks been set off during the day and parades, culminating in the main festival float being rode into the crowd and ripped to pieces, locals looking to grab a section for good luck.

I went to do a photographic documentary project of city and the festival, accompanying Blue Monday while they filmed a documentary which will be coming out this year. It was thanks to them and their research that I got to meet so many great people involved in the festival, including the float designer.