Matera is a town of history, Arts and culture. There are plenty of museums you can visit in the town. Among them, the Domenico Ridola National Museum no doubt is one of the most important. It takes its name from Senator Ridola, who was also a physician and archaeologist in the town towards the end of the 19th century.
During his work as archaeologist, Ridola concentrated his efforts on the area around the Murgia plateau, a land very rich in finds dating back to the period between the Ston Age and the 3rd century b.C. In particular, he gathered a lot of Paleolithic and Neolithic relics. Due to its particular morphological features, the Murgia plateau was the ideal habitat for the first human settlements.
In the Archaeological Museum, tourists can visit five different areas:
- the Prehistoric hall
- finds coming from the Basento Valley (South East of Basilicata)
- relics coming from the Bradano Valley (Western area, the land bordering on Puglia)
- finds coming from Matera and the surrounding area (namely from Timmari, hamlet of Matera)
- an area dedicated to Domenico Ridola, with some documents that prove the job of this great physician and archaeologist.
The Museum was established in 1911 for want of Senator Domenico Ridola and it is located in the former Santa Chiara monastery. It is the oldest museum of Basilicata and it gathers all the relics that Ridola brought to light during his archaeological digs. In particular, Ancient and Art History enthusiasts can admire old arrows, stone utensils, headstone decorations and other finds, such as vases and ceramic ware.
Inside the museum, tourists can also visit a small Prehistorical village which has been built on purpose and, in the following room, they will go through an artificial cave where old typical graffiti have been simulated.
The Ridola Museum is very easy to find: it is located in the central street having the same name, that is “Via Ridola”. I strongly recommend dropping by since it is a noteworthy tourist attraction of the town.