Where to stay in Matera
A BBC program, ‘Italy Unpacked’, made me think of planning a trip to Matera. Hard to believe I never visited it before, I’ve been travelling to Italy since I was a child.
Matera is in the region of Basilicata in the south of Italy and it’s one of the most ancient places in the world. This City is so unique it was declared Unesco World Heritage Site in 1993.
For our first visit we booked one night at the Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita . This is an ‘albergo difusso’, a diffused hotel that respect original heritage of the place. With spectacular views over the Murgia National Park. you will stay at one of the most original room you will ever see. The hotel is engrave in the rock so you will be sleeping in a luxury cave and eating your meals in what it was originally a Rupestrian Church. Once you experience this unique sleeping experience you won’t look to stay anywhere else.
The City of Sassos
Situated on the top of a big hill, Matera is a labyrinth of old caves, houses and thousand steps, your first impression will be to be looking at a giant nativity scene. The city is divided into two main Sassos. What’s a Sasso? A hill, rock or great stone!
The town centre is in Sasso Barisano and here you would find the best views looking down from the Piazza Duomo. The Duomo, the church of San Francesco di Assisi and the Sant Agostino monastery are some of the sites you could visit.
In Sasso Caveoso you will find a rich archaeological area. A must visit is the little rupestrian church Santa Maria De Idris, a good place to start appreciating what Matera rupestrian art is all about. Rupestrian Art is a graphical or sculptural works left in hillsides, rocks or walls of caves/grottos.
All the way up is Piazza Giovanni Pascoli, an ideal spot for panoramic pictures. In this square we catch our breath with a nice aperitive at Lanfranchi Caffe. Very close is Via Ridola, in this trendy street you will find lots of artisan’s shops plus another original church, the Chiesa del Purgatorio. This church is a great example of Italian baroque style with spooky death images in the façade.
The jewel of Rupestrian Art
A must see when you visit Matera is the Crypt of Original Sin located 10 kms from Matera. This is considered the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of the Rupestrian Art and without a doubt one of the most beautiful caves I’ve eve seen. This visit will last for thirty minutes and your guide will passionately explaining all frescos on the cave, some of them dating from the 9th century. Please note you will be seated on the stone floor, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and a cardigan, even in summer it’s quite fresh inside.
Places to eat and local products
On the way back to Matera is Dragone, a local restaurant few hundred meters from the Crypt of original Sin. Here you can try and buy typical products/wines from Basilicata. Email firstname.lastname@example.org telf +39-0835-261740
There are a couple of restaurants worth mentioning: Osteria L’Arco (telf +39-0835-334626) and Osteria Pico ( telf +39-0835240424) both in Sasso Barisano. At the Osteria Pico try the local pasta ‘fusilli ai peperoni cruschi’ a delicious vegetarian pasta dish with typical peppers of Basilicata, I wish we ordered two portions!
Matera was chosen European Capital City 2019 and is in everyone travel radar at the moment. Make sure you visit before the crowds get there. For more information about Matera you can contact us at email@example.com or visit www.infosassidimatera.com www.dicoverbasilicata.com