Matera kicked off its year as European Capital of Culture 2019 with a big party. The southern Italian city with its Unesco world heritage site has blossomed into one of the country's most singular tourist destinations.
Dirt-poor and forgotten by the government in faraway Rome, the town languished for a long time. That has changed. The European Capital of Culture enchants with ancient history and fresh ideas.
Leeuwarden in the northern Netherlands and Malta's capital Valletta are the European Cultural Capitals of 2018. Their approaches to culture, however, could hardly differ more.
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