Matera: the magnificent Italian filmmakers of the hills do not resist | To travel

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AAs audiences would expect with the James Bond franchise, the locations are almost as spectacular as the high-adrenaline plot twists and turns. The latest, No Time to Die, is no exception, thanks to La La Land cinematographer Linus Sandgren and the film’s scouts.

As always, London occupies an important place as the HQ of MI6; Port Antonio in Jamaica makes an appearance, as this is where author Ian Fleming has written many Bond escapades. More difficult to locate, the frozen lake of Nittedal in Norway, the wild landscapes of the Faroe Islands and the Unesco town of Matera in southern Italy, where James Bond maneuvers his Aston Martin DB5 with outstanding aplomb.

Although this is Matera’s first appearance in the Bond collection, international moviegoers will be familiar with its rocky dwellings built in the hills and barren, otherworldly surroundings – it has been dubbed Little Jerusalem by the locals. directors. Pier Paolo Pasolini told the story of Jesus’ life here in the 1964 classic The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. The 2003 Italian crime thriller Io non ho Paura (I’m Not Afraid), directed by Gabriele Salvatores, was filmed nearby. And Mel Gibson’s controversial 2004 biblical drama The Passion of Christ used the cave church of San Nicola dei Greece for the Last Supper scene, along with many other locations.

Daniel Craig is partially seen seated inside one of the Aston Martin DB5s used on the set of No Time to Die in Matera, southern Italy. Photography: Fabio Dell’Aquila / AP

Matera is in the southern region of Basilicata, one of the poorest regions in Italy, and has been hit hard by the lockdown. The mayor of Matera, Domenico Bennardi, a member of the peripheral Italian Cinque Stelle party that took office in October 2020, is optimistic about the attention the film will bring to the city after Covid (Matera was also in the spotlight in as a European city of culture in 2019).

“Cinema has always embraced our city, now more than ever,” Bennardi said. “From summer 2017 to the first months of 2021, we hosted more than 140 Italian and international production companies, even during the lockdown. All this exhibition also brings a series of cultural, social and tourist opportunities. This means that tourism brings benefits and benefits to the whole region, from direct and indirect sources. Tourism is therefore of great importance and we welcome it.

Restaurant owner Vitantonio Lombardo said he had already welcomed more customers after the pre-launch publicity for the Bond film, and was relieved his business was improving after the tensions of the lockdown. “I am really convinced that the film will bring us more clients.”

Staying in the city is indeed living on a film set. AL ‘Hotel in Pietra, behind the Cathedral of Matera, ancient caves (sassi) have been renovated into cozy rooms (double rooms from € 70).

In Osteria al Casale, located behind Madonna delle Virtù, chef Fabio Paolicelli showcases local ingredients with great effect in the Sassi Barioso cave-like restaurant – burrata, grilled octopus and cuttlefish, turnip and sausage pizza. And Italians across the country are rightly raving about I Vizi degli Angeli – an ice cream lab with flavors such as lavender, grapefruit and pink pepper, pineapple and ginger ice cream.

For a good look at the city’s darker history, brilliantly captured by Carlo Levi in Cristo si è Fermato a Eboli (Christ Stopped at Eboli), and in the 1955 film, tourists tend to head to Casa Noha, an interactive museum housed in an ancient palace, which details his ascent from the abject poverty after the Second World War to its Unesco Designation in 1993.

This article was amended on October 2, 2021 to remove an incorrect reference to the Faroe Islands being “off the coast of Denmark”.


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