Matera: jewel of southern italy

Welcome to Matera, a city that defies time with its ancient charm and rich history. Situated in the picturesque region of Basilicata in Southern Italy, Matera is a place where the past seamlessly blends with the present, creating a unique and captivating destination for travelers from around the world.

With its fascinating cave dwellings, stunning architecture, and a culinary scene that celebrates the flavors of the Mediterranean, Matera offers an unforgettable experience for those who venture to explore its enchanting streets.

The history of matera

Matera’s history dates back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city’s roots can be traced to the Paleolithic era, with evidence of human settlements in the area dating as far back as 10,000 years ago.

One of Matera’s most iconic features is its „Sassi“ districts, which are ancient cave dwellings carved into the soft tufa rock. These cave dwellings, known as „Sassi di Matera,“ were once home to prehistoric communities and later became a refuge for early Christians fleeing persecution.

Exploring the sassi

Walking through the narrow alleyways and winding streets of the Sassi districts is like stepping back in time. The unique architecture, with homes carved into the rock and connected by a maze of stone steps, creates a truly magical atmosphere.

Visitors can explore the cave dwellings, some of which have been converted into charming hotels, restaurants, and museums. The Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, for example, offers a glimpse into the daily life of a Matera family in the 18th century.

Architectural marvels

Aside from the Sassi, Matera boasts a wealth of architectural treasures. The stunning Romanesque-style Matera Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is a must-visit. Its intricate façade and interior are a testament to the city’s historical and artistic significance.

For panoramic views of Matera and the surrounding countryside, head to the Belvedere di Matera, a scenic viewpoint that offers breathtaking vistas of the city’s unique skyline.

Gastronomic delights

Matera’s cuisine is a celebration of the flavors of Southern Italy. Local specialties include „cavatelli,“ a type of handmade pasta, and „peperoni cruschi,“ crispy red peppers that add a delightful crunch to dishes. Don’t forget to savor the region’s wines, such as Aglianico and Primitivo, which perfectly complement the local cuisine.

Exploring the city’s trattorias and osterias is a culinary adventure in itself, as you savor the traditional dishes passed down through generations.


1. How do I get to Matera?

Matera is accessible by train and bus from major Italian cities like Rome and Naples. The nearest airport is Bari Airport, which is approximately 65 kilometers away.

2. Can I stay in a cave hotel in Matera?

Yes, Matera offers a unique opportunity to stay in cave hotels, allowing you to experience the city’s ancient architecture and ambiance up close.

3. Is Matera safe for tourists?

Yes, Matera is considered a safe destination for tourists. Like any other city, it’s advisable to take standard precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings.

4. What is the best time to visit Matera?

The best time to visit Matera is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the tourist crowds are smaller. However, Matera’s unique charm can be appreciated year-round.

Now that you’ve discovered the enchanting beauty of Matera, start planning your journey to this timeless city and immerse yourself in its rich history, breathtaking architecture, and delectable cuisine. Matera awaits, ready to transport you to a world unlike any other.

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