Matera: the Sassi through Trade, Consumption and Tourism
- historical neighborhood,
- tourism development,
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The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) process-event has contributed to amplify the main transformations of the commercial structure in Matera. This paper proposes an analysis of the recent transformation of the historical Sassi neighborhood, aimed at pointing out the changes in trade and consumption practices, considering the effects that the development of tourism, one among the main drivers of the changes occurred, has produced in this area. Indeed, the Sassi neighborhood represents a definitely peculiar commercial and touristic landscape: from the year of designation of Matera as ECoC until today, the neighborhood – already a privileged destination for local tourism – has invested in a decisive reconversion of its commercial spaces, focused on the food & drink segment. These commercial activities are addressed mainly for tourists, therefore the first and most evident result is, actually, the exclusion of the residents. What are the characteristics of such a touristic change? What is the position of these places in the urban context? What are the functions that characterize them? Attempting to answer these questions will enable to highlight the specific characteristics of the Sassi and their development based on the most remarkable forms of touristification.