Sixty years ago, Matera was Italy’s national disgrace, “la vergogna nazionale” (or “Shame of Italy”). Its inhabitants lived in squalor in caves with no heat, running water or sanitation. Malaria and dysentery ravaged the children and elderly alike. Children didn’t beg for money — they asked for quinine tablets. Infant mortality stood at 50 percent. Today, Matera is the 2019 European Capital of Culture, its once filthy cave dwellings turned into elegant, even luxurious accommodations, restaurants, art galleries, and spas….