MATERA – 7,000 years of charm

View of the Sassi - Matera (Italy)

Voted as “European Capital of Culture”, Matera is a well-kept hidden gem in Southern Italy. It is considered to be one of the most ancient towns in the world, continuously inhabited since the Palaeolithic Era.

The ancient town, known as Sassi, is composed by a series of grottoes carved out of limestone and is one of the most unique and spectacular places that can be visited.

Less than 70 years ago, people were still living in the grottoes. Today they have been completely redeveloped and transformed in hotels, restaurants, little cafes and Airbnb.

The ancient-looking scenery has been chosen by famous filmmakers like Mel Gibson for his The Passion of the Christ.

 

Cathedral © Archivio fotografico APT

MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS

  • Santa Maria di Idris Church – Matera is characterised by over 150 rupestrian churches, carved from the calcarenite rock, typical of the region.
  • Cathedral – A perfect example of Romanesque architecture, it is home of the 3th-century Byzantine Madonna and two 12th-century frescoed crypts, recently discovered during the renovation works.
  • Casa-Grotta di Vico Solitario – It is a perfect example of how people used to live in the caves in the 18th century.

 

Craco – The gost town

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • A walk through the Sassi – The old part of the city is split into two sections – the Sasso Barisano and the Sasso Caveoso – separated by a ridge. Taking a walk in the little narrow streets and having the Aperitivo in one of the caves is one of the most unique experiences you can have.
  • Festa della Bruna – Starting on the 2nd of July, it is the City’s biggest festival in honour of the town’s sacred protector, the Madonna della Bruna. Thousands of people meet in Matera for a week of celebrations with music, good food, coloured lights and processions.
  • Craco – Located 55km from Matera, it is a medieval ghost town. Craco was totally abandoned by its inhabitants due to natural disasters occurred between the 1950s and the early 1970s. Thanks to the dramatic landscape and unique atmosphere, it has been the set of many movies including James Bond Quantum of Solace. Today, it is an open-air museum accessible to the public. Pre-Booking is required.

 

FOOD & DRINKS

  • The bread of Matera is considered to be the best in Italy. It is also called Cornetto Materano and it must be prepared following very precise rules, including the use of local wheat. Perfect match with a plate of grilled lamb.
  • The Province of Matera is a volcanic area where exceptional grapes are cultivated. The regional speciality is a powerful red wine, the Aglianico del Vulture. Contact our offices to add the visit to a cellar with wine tasting to your itinerary.

 

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