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In photos: These are Lonely Planet’s picks for the best cities to visit in 2018, #7. Matera, Italy

Lonely Planet has released their picks for the best cities to visit in 2018, in a list that features a few surprises and interesting choices. To make the cut on one of the most influential travel lists of the year, destinations must offer outstanding experiences in 2018, be it for a special event, milestone, or new openings and attractions, editors say. They can likewise be overlooked and underrated destinations that are worth the visit. For travel ideas in the year ahead, click through to see Lonely Planet’s selection of best cities 2018.

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7. Matera, Italy
Beneath Matera’s surface is a labyrinth of cave dwellings, churches and monasteries that date back over 9000 years, making it one of the world’s oldest cities. The city is also grooming its debut as the European Capital of Culture 2019.

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Tumbledown tunnels, alleyways and stone dwellings climb the hillsides of Matera in Italy’s Basilicata region © bluejayphoto / iStockphoto / Getty Images

A crown of honey-stoned houses perched above a ravine, Matera has knockout looks. But that’s only half the story: snaking beneath the surface is a labyrinth of cave dwellings, churches and monasteries that date back over 9000 years – making it one of the oldest living cities in the world. Largely restored from near ruin, Matera’s now capitalising on its cavernous appeal, with hotels, restaurants and bars carving out a scene as cool as their rock-hewn walls. There’s a flurry of events planned ahead of its stint as a European Capital of Culture for 2019, so visit now before this underground destination emerges into the limelight.

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