Matera is an ancient city located in the Basilicata region of Italy. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its ancient cave dwellings and stunning architecture.

In this article, I will introduce you to 36 of the best things to do in Matera.

Beautiful white/beige City with a clock tower and blue sky with clouds.
Matera, Basilicata
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36 amazing things to do in Matera, Basilicata.

With evidence of human settlements dating back to the Palaeolithic period and continuing uninterrupted to the present day, Matera is among the world’s oldest cities. In recognition of its cultural significance, Matera was named European Capital of Culture for the year 2019.

I last visited Matera in April 2023, and it was very quiet, in terms of tourists. However, Matera is expected to become busier with tourism, especially after the movie ‘James Bond – No Time To Die‘ was filmed in the city in recent years.

In a hurry? Here are some quick links for Matera:

Here are 36 of the best things to do in Matera:

1. Visit the Sassi di Matera.

Number 1 on my list of things to do in Matera is the historic destination of Sassi di Matera. The term ‘Sassi’ means ‘stones’ in Italian, referring to the complex of ancient cave dwellings.

This area is among the oldest continuously inhabited settlements globally, and holds UNESCO World Heritage status.

a large group of buildings on top of a hill.
Matera, Basilicata

The Sassi complex consists of two neighbourhoods: Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano. These neighbourhoods comprise numerous small dwellings, many of which were carved into the soft tufa rock of the landscape. The buildings are connected by narrow streets, stairs, and passages, creating an intriguing labyrinth to explore.

The origins of Sassi di Matera date back to prehistoric times, witnessing the gradual growth and layering of structures throughout the centuries.

During the 20th century, the Sassi faced poverty and inadequate living conditions, lacking essentials like water and electricity. In the 1950s, the Italian government relocated the residents to newly constructed apartments outside the city due to health concerns.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Sassi di Matera. Abandoned buildings have been restored and repurposed into hotels, restaurants, and cultural establishments. Today, the Sassi are a popular tourist attraction.

2. Explore the Matera Cathedral.

Matera Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna and Sant’Eustachio, is a beautiful Roman Catholic cathedral in Matera, Italy. It showcases stunning Apulian-Romanesque architecture and has a long history dating back to the 13th century, making it one of the city’s oldest and most important buildings. The cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Eustace, the patron saint of Matera.

The cathedral’s façade features a magnificent rose window and a tall bell tower that reaches a height of 52 metres. Inside are three naves separated by rounded arches supported by columns. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Baroque-style decorations were added, including gilded stuccoes and frames.

The interior features a Byzantine-style fresco from 1270, depicting the Madonna della Bruna and Child. There are also relics of Saint John of Matera, carved wooden choir stalls created in 1453, and a sculptural Nativity scene from 1534.

3. Tour the Palazzo Lanfranchi.

Palazzo Lanfranchi is an historic palace located in the heart of Matera, Italy. Built in the 17th century, the palace is a stunning example of Baroque architecture and has played an important role in the history and culture of the city.

Today, the palace is home to the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata, which houses a collection of artwork and artefacts from the region.

a large building with a clock on the top of it in Matera Italy.
Palazzo Lanfranchi

The museum’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and other artefacts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, arranged over four floors.

4. Discover the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario.

Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario is a museum situated in Matera’s Sassi district, Italy. It’s housed in a traditional cave dwelling, which has been meticulously preserved to show how the city’s residents lived in the past.

There are various rooms, each filled with original tools, furniture, and household items from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Inside an old cave dwelling, museum exhibit in Matera Italy.
Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario

As you explore the museum, you’ll get a fascinating insight into the daily lives of the people who once called the sassi their home, including their traditions, customs, and ways of life.

5. Visit the Rupestrian Churches.

The UNESCO listed Rupestrian Churches are ancient cave churches that are carved into the rock, dating back to the Byzantine era. They feature beautiful frescoes which show the artistic and religious heritage of the region.

a stone building with a doorway and steps leading into it.
Views of the inside of a rupestrian church in the Murgia National Park

The interiors are amazing, I don’t have many photos but I recommend you look at the UNESCO world heritage page for examples. Also see my entry for the Church of Santa Lucia Malve alle below.

6. Take a walk through the Parco della Murgia Materana.

The Parco della Murgia Materana is a natural park with breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

As you meander along the winding paths, you can appreciate the beautiful fields of wildflowers, rocky outcrops, and rolling hills that stretch as far as the eye can see.

a rocky mountain with caves in the middle of it.
Matera, Basilicata, Italy.

The Parco della Murgia Materana covers an extensive area of over 4,000 hectares and is home to a diverse range of plant and animal life. The park also has several significant archaeological sites, including ancient rock settlements and prehistoric caves.

7. Sample the local cuisine.

Matera offers a range of traditional dishes to try. Some of the most iconic dishes of the region include orecchiette, a type of pasta made by hand and served with a variety of sauces, such as tomato and basil or broccoli and anchovy. Another local favourite is the peperoni cruschi, dried sweet peppers that are fried and served as a snack or appetiser.

a white bowl filled with food on top of a table.
Orecchiette pasta (photo actually taken just over the border in Puglia)

Matera is also known for its fantastic bread-making culture, with traditional loaves baked in wood-fired ovens and served fresh and warm. The city’s famous bread, known as ‘pane di Matera’, is made from semolina flour and has a unique flavour and texture that can’t be found elsewhere.

Another popular dish is Lucanica sausage, a type of pork sausage made with garlic and fennel seeds, which is often grilled or cooked in stews and sauces.

Further reading: Food from Puglia: 78 Delicious Pugliese Dishes To Try

8. Visit the Casa Noha.

The Casa Noha is a multimedia museum that tells the story of Matera through sound and light displays. It is a great way to learn about the history and culture of the city.

The museum features a series of short films that cover various aspects of the city’s history, including its ancient origins, its role in the development of Christianity, and its evolution into a modern-day cultural centre. The films are available in multiple languages.

In addition to the films, Casa Noha also features a variety of exhibits that provide insight into the daily life of the people who have called Matera home throughout the centuries. You can learn about the city’s traditional crafts, such as weaving and pottery, and explore the local cuisine, including the famous Lucanica sausage.

Further reading: A Series of Planned Road Trip Itineraries around Puglia, Italy.

9. Check out James Bond filming locations.

To explore the James Bond filming locations in Matera, start by visiting Piazza Vittorio Veneto. This square was featured in ‘No Time to Die’ during a high-speed car chase. You can see the buildings and streets where the scene took place and take pictures by the famous fountain. The square is also a great place to relax and enjoy the local atmosphere with nearby cafes and restaurants.

Aston Martin DB5 in the streets of Matera
Aston Martin DB5 in the streets of Matera

Next, head to the Sassi di Matera, the ancient cave dwellings used as a backdrop in the movie. You may recognise some of the alleys from the high speed motorcycle chase in the film. You can wander through the narrow streets and alleys, exploring the cave homes and churches carved into the rocks.

The hotel where James Bond stays is called Palazzo Gattini (it’s not really a hotel) and other filming locations in Matera include the Piazza Duomo. This central square was used for an exciting car chase scene. Guided walking tour of James Bond locations in Matera.

10. Church of Santa Lucia alle Malve.

The Church of Santa Lucia alle Malve is an historic and spiritually important landmark in Matera. It is a unique rock church with a rich history dating back over a thousand years.

a room with paintings on the walls and ceiling.
Santa Lucia alle Malve, an 11th century rock church located at the Sasso Caveoso of Matera.

The church’s architecture is simple yet beautiful, blending Romanesque and Byzantine styles. It is renowned for its ancient frescoes depicting the lives of Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica.

Santa Lucia alle Malve is located in the Sasso Caveoso area of Matera and is connected to a Benedictine female monastery from the 11th century.

Throughout the years, the church has served as a place of worship and refuge for generations of Benedictine nuns, playing a significant role in the city’s history.

a castle on top of a mountain at night.
Exterior of the rock church.

11. Explore Cripta del Peccato Originale.

The Cripta del Peccato Originale (Crypt of Original Sin) is one of the most popular things to do in Matera. Located at the top of a hill overlooking the old town, this crypt dates back to 1545 and houses some incredible frescoes depicting the story of Adam and Eve.

a group of paintings on a wall in a cave.
Ancient frescoes in the Crypt of the Original Sin

The cave was discovered in the early 1960s and has since become a popular tourist attraction. You can take a guided tour of the cave to really understand the frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling.

12. Stay in a Cave Hotel.

Staying in a cave hotel in Matera is a unique and unforgettable experience (plus James Bond stayed in a cave hotel in No Time To Die).

These unique hotels are carved into the natural limestone rocks that surround the city and have been renovated to offer modern amenities while preserving the historic atmosphere.

White interior of a luxury cave hotel in Matera
Sasso Caveoso, Aquatio hotel (Cave Luxury Hotel & Spa)

If you’re a fan of unique and interesting lodgings, you may also be interested in my experience staying in a Trulli in Alberobello. These are the conical stone huts found in Puglia, which is the region found next to Basilicata in the ‘heel’ of Italy’s ‘boot’.

See prices and availability for Matera cave hotels on here.

Further reading: My Stay in a Trulli House in Alberobello (Photos & Review).

13. Take a guided tour of the city.

A guided tour of the city is a great way to learn about Matera’s history and culture. There are many different tours available, including walking tours, bike tours, and food tours.

The city has a long and fascinating past, and a knowledgeable guide can help visitors navigate the maze of narrow streets and alleys and discover the hidden gems that Matera has to offer.

Below are some of the top-rated tours in Matera, from my preferred tour operator Viator (I also use Get Your Guide as well, but Viator is my go-to):

14. Explore Tramontano Castle.

Tramontano Castle is a historic fortress in Matera’s city centre. Built in the 16th century by the Tramontano family, it served as a defensive structure. Today, the castle welcomes visitors, offering a glimpse into Matera’s history and culture.

an aerial view of a castle in the middle of a city.
Castle Tramontano

There are exhibition spaces inside the castle displaying things like traditional clothing, weaponry, and pottery. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the panoramic views of Matera’s rooftops and surrounding landscape from the castle.

Beyond its historical significance, the castle hosts cultural events, including concerts, performances, and art exhibitions. Check the schedule for any upcoming events during your visit.

15. Discover Palombaro Lungo.

One of the lesser-known things to do in Matera is visiting the Palombaro Lungo. This is a unique underground cistern system located in the Sassi di Matera. The cisterns are made up of a series of interconnected chambers carved out of the rock, which were used to collect and store rainwater for the local population.

The system is believed to date back to the 18th century and shows the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Matera people, who managed to survive in a challenging and arid environment.

a bridge going through a tunnel in a rock formation.
The cistern of Palombaro Lungo.

The Palombaro Lungo is open to the public, and you can explore the labyrinthine system of chambers at your leisure. The chambers are connected by a series of staircases and passages which are complex in design.

There is also a small museum which displays further information about the history and function of the Palombaro Lungo, as well as the daily lives of the Matera people.

16. Chill at Piazza V Veneto.

Piazza Vittorio Veneto, known as Piazza V, is a lively square in the heart of Matera’s historic centre. It’s a popular gathering place with elegant buildings and a beautiful fountain at its centre, attracting both locals and visitors. Chilling in this square is one of the nicest things to do in Matera!

Things to do in Matera - Piazza Vittorio Veneto
Piazza Vittorio Veneto

Piazza V contains a variety of cafes, restaurants, and gelaterias where you can relax, enjoy a coffee or gelato, and observe the lively atmosphere. Street performers and musicians add to the lively vibe.

Throughout the year, the square hosts exciting events like Christmas markets and the Matera Jazz Festival, drawing larger crowds and adding to the festive atmosphere.

In addition to its social scene, Piazza V is rich in history and culture. It is surrounded by historic landmarks such as the Palazzo dell’Annunziata and the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi.

17. Visit the Church of San Pietro Barisano.

The Church of San Pietro Barisano is one of the lesser-known things to do in Matera.

a stone building church with two doors and a window.
Church of San Pietro Barisano

What sets the Church of San Pietro Barisano apart is how seamlessly it blends with the natural landscape. Carved directly into the tufa rock, the church has an organic and unique atmosphere. As you explore, you’ll appreciate how the architecture and artwork harmonise with the surrounding environment.

One of the highlights of visiting this church is the panoramic view from the outdoor terrace. From there, you can admire the city of Matera and even catch a glimpse of the Murgia National Park in the distance.

18. Go hiking in Matera.

Matera is not only famous for its historic centre, but also for its natural beauty and stunning landscapes. Going on a hiking adventure is a great way to explore the region’s unique environment and experience the beauty of Matera’s countryside.

One of the most popular hiking trails in Matera is the Gravina di Matera Natural Park, which covers an area of about 740 hectares and features numerous trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels.

Another popular hiking spot is the Murgia National Park. Here there are a variety of flora and fauna, including rare plant species, wild orchids, and migratory birds.

For those who prefer a more guided experience, there are many local tour companies that offer guided hiking tours of the area.

19. See St Francesco d’Assissi Church.

The San Francesco d’Assisi Church is a Catholic place of worship located in the central Piazza San Francesco in Matera. It is built in the Baroque style and is an iconic landmark in the city.

The church was originally an underground church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, which is still accessible today through a trap door from a chapel. It contains a fresco depicting the visit of Pope Urban II to Matera in 1093. The church was later renamed after St. Francis of Assisi, who visited it in 1218 (according to some sources).

20. Visit the abandoned Craco Village.

This intriguing village is one of the lesser-known things to do in Matera. Craco Village was abandoned in the mid-20th century due to landslides and earthquakes, when its residents had to relocate to a nearby town.

Craco has a long history dating back to the 8th century and is situated on a steep hill with beautiful views of the valleys, hills, and mountains.

an old abandoned city near Matera in Italy
The abandoned Craco Village

The village also features an ancient castle from the 11th century and several churches to explore.

21. Visit the sculpture park at La Palomba Quarry.

La Palomba is an abandoned quarry that has become a unique sculpture park. Renowned artist Antonio Paradiso held an exhibit there in 2013, and since then, the quarry has been transformed into an open-air gallery. It features permanent and temporary exhibitions, showcasing sculptures made from various materials like twisted metal and stone carvings.

a stone quarry with a metal sculpture in the middle of it.
La Palomba quarry and sculpture park.

One notable sculpture at La Palomba is made from 20 tons of metal salvaged from the rubble of the World Trade Centre after 9/11. Antonio Paradiso was chosen among thousands of artists to create art from these materials.

The quarry is probably the most under-the-radar of all the things to do in Matera, and it is also quite difficult to find. It is just off the roadside and easy to miss, but I have dropped a pin on the Google map at the bottom of this post to help you find it. Entry is free, but parking spaces are limited.

22. Marvel at the Chiesa del Purgatorio.

Probably the most eerie of all the things to do in Matera, the Chiesa del Purgatorio is a 17th-century church in Matera known for its unique and haunting beauty. Inside the church, the walls, ceiling, and altar are covered in fine white dust, creating a mystical atmosphere.

a wooden door with skulls and crossbones on it in a church in Matera.
Church of Purgatory (Chiesa del Purgatorio)

Thousands of human skulls and bones have been arranged and sculpted into intricate designs, representing the souls of those in purgatory. The church also houses carved statues, religious artwork, and a crypt with the remains of past nobles and clergy.

23. See Matera in miniature.

The ‘Casa Grotta’ in Matera houses a miniature version of the city, providing a condensed and detailed representation of Matera’s architecture and layout. This miniature display offers a bird’s-eye view of the Sassi district, capturing the unique features of the cave dwellings, narrow streets, and historical landmarks.

The Casa Grotta itself is a preserved cave dwelling containing original furniture, tools, and household items. The artist who works inside is friendly, and sells artwork directly to the public.

24. Wander through MUSMA.

The Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera (MUSMA) is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. The exhibits are predominantly sculptures, housed within the Pomarici Palace, which also has beautiful views of Matera.

a view of the old town in matera, italy.
View from Musma museum at Palazzo Pomarici.

MUSMA’s exhibitions provide a unique perspective on art, history, and the evolution of Matera as a cultural hub.

25. Enjoy panoramic views from the Belvedere viewpoints.

For awe-inspiring panoramic views of Matera and its iconic Sassi, there are several Belvedere viewpoints.

Here are some of the belvedere viewpoints in Matera:

  1. Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio: Located near the Murgia Timone, this viewpoint offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Matera’s Sassi and the surrounding countryside.
  2. Belvedere Piazzetta Pascoli: Situated near the Church of San Pietro Caveoso, this belvedere provides a stunning view of the Sassi and the Gravina di Matera ravine.
  3. Belvedere San Pietro Barisano: Found near the Church of San Pietro Barisano, this viewpoint offers a picturesque vista of the Sassi di Matera and the Murgia Timone.
  4. Belvedere Santa Maria de Idris: Located near the Church of Santa Maria de Idris, this viewpoint provides an excellent view of the Sassi and the surrounding landscape.
  5. Belvedere Via D’Addozio: Situated along Via D’Addozio, this belvedere offers a panoramic view of the Sassi, including the famous cave dwellings and ancient churches.
the city of Matera on a cliff overlooking a mountain.
View from the Belvedere di Murgia Timone in Matera Italy.

26. Explore the National Archaeological Museum Domenico Ridola.

The National Archaeological Museum ‘Domenico Ridola’ in Matera contains a remarkable collection of archaeological artefacts. Spanning various periods, the museum offers insights into Matera’s prehistoric and ancient civilizations.

an ornate building with a clock on it in Matera.
Ridola Museum, Matera.

There are Palaeolithic tools, Neolithic pottery, Roman sculptures, and Greek vases.

The museum serves as a hub for research and education, and its knowledgeable staff are always available to give further information.

27. Attend a performance at the Teatro dei Sassi.

Carved into the ancient tufa stone, this unique theatre offers a memorable setting for theatrical and musical performances. I don’t have any photos, but you can check out the official website (translated to English).

From theatrical plays to musical concerts, the theatre offers a diverse program that caters to various tastes and interests.

28. Sample local wines.

Matera and its surrounding region (in Puglia and Basilicata) are known for their rich wine culture, producing exceptional wines that reflect the local terroir and traditions.

Visiting wineries in this area gives the opportunity to learn about the winemaking process, from vine to bottle, while enjoying stunning vineyard views. You can sample a variety of wines, including the renowned Aglianico and Primitivo grapes, which produce robust red wines with distinct flavours and characteristics.

Further reading: Guide to wine in Puglia + best wineries in Puglia.

29. Attend the Festa della Bruna.

The Festa della Bruna is Matera’s most important annual festival, deeply rooted in the city’s history and traditions. Held on July 2nd, it celebrates Matera’s patron saint, Madonna della Bruna. The festival is a grand spectacle of religious processions, cultural events, parades, and fireworks.

The highlight of the festival is the procession of the “Carro,” a massive wooden float adorned with flowers and statues depicting the Madonna. The Carro is paraded through the streets of Matera, accompanied by lively music, traditional costumes, and the enthusiastic participation of the community.

a carnival float depicting jesus with angels on it.
Typical Allegorical float at the Feast of Madonna Bruna in 2023.

The festival also includes various cultural and artistic events, such as concerts, exhibitions, and street performances, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

30. Explore the Museo Laboratorio della Civiltà Contadina.

The Museo Laboratorio della Civiltà Contadina (Museum-Laboratory of Peasant Culture) provides a glimpse into the rural traditions and heritage of the Matera region. Located in the heart of the Sassi, this museum showcases the agricultural and rural life of the local community.

There are exhibits featuring traditional tools, artefacts, and everyday objects that were once integral to the daily lives of the region’s peasants. You can also learn about the traditional crafts and skills that were passed down through generations, such as weaving, pottery, and woodworking.

Further reading: Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car in Puglia, Italy.

31. Take a bike tour around Matera.

Taking a guided bike tour is a great way to explore the city of Matera and its surrounding areas. These tours typically provide bikes and safety equipment, as well as a knowledgeable guide who will lead you on an exciting journey.

You’ll pedal through the narrow streets of the Sassi, witnessing the unique architecture and absorbing the atmosphere. The tour may take you to lesser-known corners of the city, where you can discover hidden gems, charming squares, and local cafes. Matera bike tours and rickshaw tours.

a stone wall and alley in Matera.
Alley in Matera.

32. Visit the Convent of Sant’Agostino.

Dating back to the 16th century, this convent is an exquisite example of the region’s religious heritage. As you step inside, you’ll find a tranquil atmosphere that invites contemplation and reflection.

an old stone building in Matera with a blue sky in the background.
Convent of Sant’Agostino.

The convent’s main highlights include its beautiful cloisters, with elegant arches and columns, which provide a peaceful setting for quiet walks. The serene gardens surrounding the convent allow visitors to unwind and appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Further reading: 12 Must-See Monasteries in Cyprus.

33. Take a sunset walk along Via Ridola.

Via Ridola is one of the main streets in Matera and offers a delightful experience, especially during sunset. As the sun begins to descend, the golden light casts a warm glow over the ancient buildings and stone facades, creating a magical ambiance.

Strolling along Via Ridola, you’ll find charming shops, cafes, and boutiques, perfect for leisurely browsing and shopping for local crafts and souvenirs. The street is also lined with restaurants and trattorias where you can indulge in delicious regional cuisine.

I couldn’t get a photo of the street without people in it, but here is a general photo of sunset in Matera (from Shutterstock):

Matera city on the edge of a cliff at dusk.
Matera sunset (Shutterstock).

34. Explore the Ravines of Matera.

The ravines surrounding Matera, such as the Gravina di Matera, are natural wonders that offer a unique perspective on the landscape. These deep, rugged gorges are characterised by dramatic rock formations, sheer cliffs, and rich vegetation.

a view of a rocky cliff and ravine with flowers growing on it in Basilicata Italy.
Gravina Ravine, Matera, Italy.

Within the ravines you can find hidden caves, ancient rock dwellings, and fascinating archaeological sites that date back thousands of years. You can hike along the trails that wind through the ravines, enjoying the breathtaking views and observing the rich biodiversity of the area.

35. Visit Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.

This entry is for those looking for a day trip from Matera. Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are two picturesque towns that are worth visiting while in Basilicata. These towns are situated about an hour away from Matera and are nestled on rocky hills, offering stunning panoramic views of the mountains and valleys that surround them.

With their traditional architecture, narrow streets, and charming piazzas, they are the perfect destinations for a day trip from Matera.

These towns can be explored on foot, by strolling through their historic streets and admiring the centuries-old buildings, such as Castelmezzano’s castle and the Church of the Assumption in Pietrapertosa.

For those seeking adventure, there is also the chance to zipline between the two towns, taking in the breathtaking scenery along the way. This route is known as the Flight of the Angel, and you can book tickets here.

36. Explore Grotte di Castellana.

Another day trip from Matera, Grotte di Castellana is a must-see attraction located just an hour’s drive away. This complex of limestone caves is a natural wonder, an underground world filled with lakes, stalactites and stalagmites.

a group of rock formations in a cave.
Castellana Grotte

The highlight of the tour is the Grotta Bianca, an enormous underground chamber that is illuminated by a display of lights, creating a truly magical experience. This experience is also featured in my article 10 best day trips to take from Bari, Puglia.

Further reading: 10 excellent day trips to take from Bari.

Map of things to do in Matera.

The Google map below shows all the things to do in Matera as listed in this post. Click the blue icons to see more information about each place, or click the star to add to your own Google Maps. I will also a include a map showing hotels in Matera in the next section.

Planned road trip itineraries in Puglia & Matera.

If you are visiting Matera as part of a wider road trip around Puglia, you may be interested in my planned road trips. Matera is just over the border from Puglia, and well worth visiting as part of a wider itinerary.

I have published a set of done-for-you road trip itineraries for Puglia, which I will list below.

My itineraries come in 7 day, 10 day and 14 day versions, but of course you can amend them to suit your own preferences. They all contain driving instructions, maps and suggestions for things to do and places to stay.

Puglia road trip itineraries:

Where to stay in Matera.

When visiting Matera, there are several options for accommodation, each offering a unique experience. Here are some popular areas to consider for your stay:

  1. Sassi: Staying in the Sassi district allows you to immerse yourself in the historic charm of Matera. There are various cave hotels, known as “sassi hotels,” which provide a truly distinctive experience.
  2. City Centre: Matera’s city centre offers a range of hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts. This area provides convenient access to attractions, restaurants, and shops while still being close to the Sassi.
  3. Piazza Vittorio Veneto: Located in the heart of Matera, this bustling square offers a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and accommodations nearby. It’s a great choice for those who want to be in the midst of the city’s lively social scene.
  4. Piano district: Situated on the higher part of the city, the Piano district offers panoramic views of the Sassi and the surrounding landscape. It provides a peaceful retreat while still being within walking distance of the main attractions.
  5. Murgia Plateau: If you prefer a more tranquil setting away from the city centre, consider staying on the Murgia Plateau. This area offers countryside accommodations and a closer connection to nature.

It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred choice.

Here is a map from which shows Matera hotels and prices based on location.

If you prefer to look at a list rather than a map, use this link to view all hotels in Matera on

Things to do in Matera: FAQs about visiting Matera

Q: Where is Matera located?

A: Matera is located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy.

Q: How do I get to Matera? 

A: Matera can be reached by train, bus, or car. The closest airports are Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport (BRI) and Brindisi Airport (BDS), from where you can take a train or bus to Matera.

Further reading: How to Get to Bari by Plane, Boat, Bus, Train & Car.

Q: What is the best time to visit Matera? 

A: The best time to visit Matera is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild and the tourist crowds are smaller. Summers can be hot, and winters can be chilly.

Q: How long should I plan to stay in Matera? 

A: A typical visit to Matera can range from one to three days, depending on your interests and the depth of exploration you desire. However, even a day trip can provide a worthwhile experience.

Q: What are the best things to do in Matera?

A: Here are some of the best things to do in Matera:

  1. Visit the Sassi di Matera: Explore the ancient cave dwellings and UNESCO World Heritage site of Sassi, where you can wander through the narrow streets and visit historic cave churches.
  2. Explore Matera Cathedral: Marvel at the beautiful Roman Catholic Matera Cathedral, known for its stunning Apulian-Romanesque architecture and impressive interior.
  3. Wander through the historic centre: Take a leisurely stroll through the city’s historic centre, enjoying the charming streets, architecture, and local atmosphere.
  4. Explore the Ravines of Matera: Venture into the deep ravines surrounding Matera, such as the Gravina di Matera, and discover picturesque landscapes and hidden caves.

Q: Is it necessary to book accommodation in Matera in advance? 

A: It is recommended to book accommodation here in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability and secure the best options. Matera offers a range of hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals to suit different budgets.

Q: Are there guided tours available in Matera? 

A: Yes, there are guided tours available in Matera that offer insights into the city’s history, culture, and attractions. You can choose from walking tours, bike tours, or even specialised tours focusing on specific themes like food or architecture. Guided tours in Matera.

Q: Are there any famous local dishes or specialties in Matera? 

A: Matera is known for its delicious cuisine. Some popular local dishes include orecchiette pasta with meat sauce, peperoni cruschi (crispy peppers), and bread made with durum wheat. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the local wines as well.

Q: Can I visit the Sassi di Matera? 

A: Yes, the Sassi di Matera, the ancient cave dwellings, are open to visitors. You can explore the narrow streets and alleys, visit cave churches, and learn about the unique history and culture of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Q: Is Matera accessible for people with limited mobility? 

A: Matera’s historic centre, including the Sassi, is characterised by narrow streets and steps, which can make it challenging for people with mobility issues. However, efforts have been made to improve accessibility, and some areas are wheelchair-friendly.

Q: What are some other things to do near Matera? 

A: Matera is surrounded by beautiful countryside and historic towns. Nearby attractions include the Murgia National Park, the Tramontano Castle, the ancient city of Gravina, and the charming town of Altamura in Puglia, known for its bread and cathedral.

Further reading: 14 Beautiful Towns in Puglia, Italy.

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