In this April 27, 2015 New Yorker article, D. T. Max tells the story of the rise and fall and rise again of the Sassi area of Matera, a town in southern Italy which has been occupied since prehistoric times. "The main section, the Civita, contains grand churches and picturesque palazzi; it is flanked on both sides by the Sassi, or the Rocks—steeply graded districts where mostly peasants lived."
The Sassi area was neglected and ultimately depopulated sixty-five years ago, prior to being revitalized over the past thirty years. It is now a tourist destination with beautiful high end hotels such as La Casa di Lucio and Palazzo Gattini, excellent restaurants including Ristorante Francesca, a variety of artisans and even a jazz festival, Gezziamoci. In fact, it has been selected as a capital of European culture for 2019, but is certainly worth a visit long before then.