Ancient City of Matera Damaged by Parkour Stunts

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A London-based parkour group, Team Phat, recently caused a stir by sharing YouTube clips of their members climbing and jumping across the ancient streets and buildings of Matera, Italy. They also posted the video to their 240,000 Instagram followers, where it quickly went viral and sparked outrage.

The anger stemmed from the fact that one of the parkour practitioners caused damage to a historic building.

“Devon.phat is here with a hard hit from our Italy tour on YouTube. We still have one more episode, so stay tuned,” the video description read.

The footage shows Devon jumping from one building to another before crashing into a wall, resulting in both him and part of the wall collapsing. He is seen grabbing his ankle in pain before shouting.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Matera located in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy is a stone city of Paleolithic era. In 1993, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and became the European Capital of Culture in 2019.

Due to its historical significance, the parkour community’s actions received backlash from fans who questioned why they were performing stunts on such precious buildings.

“I’ve been practicing parkour and urban exploration for years, sorry guys, but this was really dumb. This is part of the city’s history and you’re damaging it,” one angry fan commented.

An Italian said Matera should not be used as a parkour playground.

Many are hoping the group will face fines for damaging the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Renovating Historic Sites

According to CNN, many districts and habitable caves in Matera were renovated in the latter half of the 20th century after the city became a popular Instagram hotspot.

The remains of ancient cave churches, fortified farmhouses, and well-preserved districts give Matera its universal value, according to UNESCO.

Banned from Venice

This isn’t the first time Team Phat has faced criticism for their stunts. they had been banned from Venice too.

They said. “As some of you know, we got banned from Venice and can never go back, so we came to the closest place to Venice that doesn’t have water.”

In March 2023, one of the group members jumped into a canal in Venice, prompting Mayor Luigi Brugnaro to label the act as “stupidity.”

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