Tufo is a type of volcanic rock. It has been used as a construction material in Italy. Sassi di Matera is a habitat excavated in tufo.
Sassi has been isolated from civilization until ’50s of the 20th century, when the public opinion called this place “shame of Italy”, because of the poverty and unhealthy living conditions. Some people were living in a kind of cave houses without electricity. For this reason, the authorities made decision to relocate the autochthons to new social houses. Thus, the city was abandoned until ’80s. But later Sassi started to be consider as a cultural heritage and has been included on the UNESCO list.