The Natural History Archaeological Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera, also called the Murgia Materana Park, surrounds the city of Matera and runs along the Sassi, extending on the opposite side of the canyon excavated in time by the Gravina di Matera.
The Park includes an area of about 8,000 hectares in the municipalities of Matera and Montescaglioso of which about 1,000 were included by UNESCO in 2007 in the list of World Heritage Sites together with the Sassi of Matera. The Murgia Materana Park consists of different natural environments. The most important and predominant is undoubtedly the fluvial environment produced by the Gravina di Matera stream in the last million years. A canyon deep up to 100 meters and long and about 20 kilometers that in the south it joins the river Bradano in the territory of Montescaglioso.
Other typical environments of the park are valleys, suspended valleys and small ravines, with upstream a series of terraces and plateaus. In these areas there are many species of great botanical and faunistic interest. Depending on the exposure, the geological nature and the presence of springs or water courses, the park presents a remarkable alternation of landscapes now characterized by woods and dense Mediterranean scrub, all areas where man has been practicing agricultural practices for millennia witnessed by the presence of a large number of farms and sheepfolds.