Is Matera Italy’s best kept secret?

Explore over 9000 years of history in southern Italy

Matera looks like something out of a fairy tale. Its breathtaking appearance, with over 9000 years of human habitation hides an unreal past.

Perched on the edge of a ravine in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, the sassi of Matera are a series of dwellings which were carved into rock thousands of years ago. Created as early as 7000BC, the area has an unfortunate history punctuated by poverty and disease. In recent years (especially since being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993), the caves have seen a remarkable transformation. Today you will find many of the caves converted into restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, with a bright and vibrant atmosphere.

Matera, Basilicata

Exploring the City of Stone

Matera has so much to offer and the city is eager to show off its remarkable past to guests who come to explore the town.

There are two separate sassi in Matera – the Sasso Barisano and the Sasso Caveoso. Sitting on top of the hill overlooking the sassi is the elegant Duomo di Matera, with the spire of the cathedral (pictured below) dominating the skyline.

Matera, Basilicata

What to do in Matera

  • Casa Noha – a great first stop, step inside this well preserved cave and learn about the incredible history of Matera
  • Duomo di Matera – construction of the cathedral began in 1203 on the highest point in the city, the interior contains artwork from over the centuries in a range of styles
  • Rupestrian churches – these are places of worship carved into the limestone, marvel at the frescoes which date back thousands of years and paint a picture of the religious history of the area
  • Palombaro Lungo – a massive subterranean cistern sitting under Piazza Vittorio Veneto, guided tours are run in English
  • Dining – there are plenty of exceptional restaurants in the city, however highlights include Ristorante Da Mario, Trattoria Lucana and Stano

Where to Stay in Matera

Istituto Sacro Cuore (BRM103) is perfectly located close to the breathtaking sights of Matera.

An oasis of green in a city dominated by stone, you will always be able to find a spot for yourself to relax, whether it be indoors in the magnificent sitting room or outside in the gardens and the warm sun.

Monastery accommodation in Matera

Istituto Sacro Cuore (BRM103) from €44pp/n

The sisters at Istituto Sacro Cuore (BRM103) offer warm hospitality, the rooms are clean and comfortable and the location is ideal for exploring Matera.

Previous guests of Istituto Sacro Cuore (BRM103) have thoroughly enjoyed the meals offered here, with a traditional Italian breakfast included in the room price and additional meals available for purchase.

For those looking for something slightly off the beaten path in Italy, consider a Monastery Stay in Matera. This awe-inspiring town is like no other on the planet, it will leave you speechless and give you memories to treasure for years to come!

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