Step 9: Matera, the incredible city that has survived the centuries

https://youtu.be/3bg_8IbIOBw

Matera was the last stop on our road trip. Perfect to end our journey in style.

To adapt to the capricious weather of April, we decided to do one less night in Taranto to make one more in Matera.

When you arrive in Matera you necessarily have a small "Oh Whaou" effect, when you discover the particular panorama and the spectacular sassis.

This city would be one of the oldest in the world with traces of civilization dating back to the Paleolithics.

What is a Sassi?

A Sasso of the Sassi, this is the name of the ancient troglodyte dwellings and now for the most part rehabilitated.

These are therefore the traditional houses of this region and especially of Matera where we slept in a main room dug in the cave with the detail sometimes.

Staged in a famous book "Christ Stopped at Eboli" by Carlo Levi, the Sassi and Matera have been called a national shame and have been rehabilitated since the 1950s.

From now on, the city is in very good condition as well as the houses for locals and tourists.

How do I get to Matéra?

By bus it will be simpler.

Book your bus ticket and find the right schedule for Omio.
https://www.omio.com/buses/italy

You can find tickets at 3-4 euros to reach Bari (off season).

Tip: Book in advance, prices fluctuate depending on supply and demand for buses and can double.

By car if you have rented a

Where to stay in Matera?

Book in advance your accommodation in Matéra (even out of season), the city is a real tourist factory and accommodation is stormed. If you want to save money, find b&B accommodation in the "new city" rather close.

We did two nights in two different places:

First night : precisely in the new city, B&B, rather recent building with elevator, apartment transformed into 3 bedrooms for rent, no kitchen, personal bathroom (about 50 euros per night for two people). 

Second night : In a youth hostel, Sassi of Matera, which we do not recommend, to flee !
Hyper negative reviews (that we had not taken the time to check on Google) some talk about bed bugs. The dorm rooms are tiny, the showers too, no male/female showers, very little privacy and places for his belongings. It's really just to sleep there and still you have to want it!

What to see and do in Matéra?

In Matera you will be amazed!

Stroll through the city and the Sassis day and night!

Do not hesitate to make the city up and down, admire the city from different points of view, from angles, at different times of the day. Go down to the rampart and then go up.
The city is beautiful at all times, special mention at nightfall when all the lights start to come on.

As in other cities, you can pay combined tickets, to visit some churches or sasso paying at the entrance.
We passed our turn once again. The richness of the landscape outside. The information of the backpacker's guide largely doing the trick in addition to the historical information of the place.

Go to the other side to admire the view of Matera

Once you have crisscrossed the sassis of the city, you can pass on the other side of the ravine, on the mountain opposite. Just go down, pass a bridge to the indiana Jones very instagramable (Ponte Tibetano della Gravina), there is often a traffic jam because everyone takes his picture, then go up. Once in front, you will pass by some kind of caves with a magnificent view of the city of Matera. Going up completely to the top, you will arrive on the plateau of the mountain, with also a viewpoint (belvedere) on the breathtaking valley. From this plateau you can return to Matera by bus/shuttle/taxi (they often wait there) or leave for a walk by another path.
It is also possible to access this viewpoint by car.

We chose the second solution and went down another path, then went up towards the church Chiesa Rupestre della Madonna delle Vergini another bypassing the city. The beginning of this walk was very bucolic, with small stream to cross, small church, a large quarry … but the end a little less (back on the expressway to the city). Do not hesitate to cross even if you see private land


From the main plateau, other hikes leave, inquire if you are adept at walking.
The visit of the city of Matera and the hill opposite + the walk took us a good day.

Take the walk with the works of Dali

There is a grand tour of the historic city that is adorned with works by the famous Dali not to be missed.

You will easily find the works and the path on google maps.
The easiest way is to ask the tourist office in Piazza Vittorio Veneto where the work below is located.

You can also make the museum dedicated.

Restaurants where to eat in Matera?

As for accommodation, you have to book your restaurant in Matera (even in low season), everything is quickly full and for addresses that do not accept reservations, people queue outside.

For lunches, we advise you to make your own sandwich with the wonderful local products: good ham, good fresh mozzarella that you can simply find in a small supermarket catering department, it often helped us during the stay.

Supermecato Supemere: you will compose your sandwich (pucce) with the ingredients of your choice for about 3 euros. A 4-star picnic. 

Osteria Malatesta : The restaurants listed in the backpacker's guide are surely all very good, but we came across one here that we will say was ok but was not our best experience of the stay.
The other restaurants listed in the backpacker's guide were all fully booked. 

Trattoria Lucana : A traditional Osteria, without reservation, people queue outside, waiting for the next service because as soon as they open all the tables are stormed. Efficient service, very good value for money, excellent primi, but also no wow effect. We were at the end of our trip, we needed more to impress us perhaps. 

Glacier very good: I Vizi degli Angeli Laboratorio di Gelateria Artigianale

15 min of queu (a bit like everything finally in Matera) to get his ice cream but no disappointment, the tastes are original, with funny names and the ice creams are very good.

What to do in the surroundings of Matéra?

On the second day we decided to walk out of the walls of Matera to discover the surroundings. Natural caves, precipices, old churches. Nice but not amazing. We especially wanted to walk. Luckily for the return, we hitchhiked and an Italian stopped to drop us off in Matera, otherwise we would still be there

On the second day we set off on foot from the south of Matera towards the Parco dei Monaci

You have to go through the left and walk along the cliffs.
We managed thanks to the maps downloaded offline from Maps.me.
Sometimes you will have to cross private fields but go there you will have no choice.

On the road you will see:

  • Chiesa Rupestre di San Nicola all'Ofra: we didn't do it but it looked very nice
  • Grotta dei Pipistrelli
  • 3 rock villages after the cave: They have top including the last one where we ate. There was a rope to prevent the cows from going there but franchise there

Other places further:

End of our Roadtrip in Puglia:

The adventure in Puglia ends. We then returned to Monopoli by taking a bus.
The Route Monopoli-Bari Airport is very good.

Hoping to see you again for new adventures!

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