Matera City Guide – a magical Italian city

THE CITY OF STONE: A full matera city guide to discover magical italy

Even though Matera isn’t officially part of Puglia (it’s part of the province Basilicata), many add it to their Puglia road trip and so did we. Moreover, I’m actually very glad we did! Matera is a stunning city completely build of stone with a very rich history. The city has been through some bad and challenging times, but fortunately is in a way better place. This Matera City Guide describes what we did and highlights my recommendations for visiting Matera. 

Matera is a city that consists out of 2 different ancient parts (and as you know, in most cities the Old Town is most stunning) called Sasso. In the Sassi, you’ll find many caves that could be houses, but after the tough history, many have been turned into beautiful cave hotels and restaurants. Currently, Matera is also an Unesco Heritage Site. 

Enough said.- let’s start!

DO & SEE

1 || visit casa noha to understand matera's history

As mentioned before, the history of Matera is quite tough. Back in the 50’s, Matera was seen as the shame of Italy, with houses that would most of the time not have water or electricity. Next to that, the mortality rate was high and overall seen, the health conditions in the city were really bad. 

To admire the city as it is now, I really liked to know a little bit about it’s history (and I’m usually not the type of traveler visiting a museum). Therefore, I would honestly recommend visiting Casa Noha as soon as you can after your arrival, as it will really enlighten the rest of your stay. Make sure to make a reservation in high season, as viewings can sold out quite quickly. 

To manage expectations, in Casa Noah, you’ll see a movie that explains you the full history of Matera. 

Casa Noah, Matera

2 || Viewpoint Palombaro lungo overlooking sasso barisano

Matera is full of view points, and this one is located closest to the point where you are entering the area near the Sassi. 

Matera Viewpoint Palombaro lungo, Italy
Matera Viewpoint Palombaro lungo, Italy

3 || Saint Francesco church

This Saint Francesco Church is stunning! When we visited, the square in front was almost empty and we had the perfect opportunity to admire this great building. 

Matera Saint Francesco church
Matera Saint Francesco church

4 || Palazzo Lanfranchi & Piazza g. pascoli

Piazza G. Pascoli can be seen as one of the main squares in town and is home to Palazzo Lanfranchi. Near this square, you’ll also find quite some great places to eat and around the corner you’ll find number 5 of this list.

Palazzo Lanfranchi in Matera, City Guide, Bascilicata
Views in Matera, overlooking the Old Sassi, Italy

5 || Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli by day & night

Located around the corner of the Piazza Giovanni Pascoli, you’ll find the view point – named after the square. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful viewpoint of Matera and so think many others. Definitely make some time to visit during the day and night, as the views are stunning during both. 

View from Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli, Matera
Sassi Caveoso, Matera, City Guide Italy
View from Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli, Matera
Matera by Night, City Guide

6 || Little outlook alley near via duomo

One of my favourite places for a picture, so definitely worth sharing. This little alley can be found when you navigate to the Via Duomo. Can’t be missed! 

Gradoni San Antonio Views (Via Duomo), Matera, City Guide
Gradoni San Antonio Views (Via Duomo), Matera, City Guide

7 || MATERA CATHEDRAL

The cathedral of Matera should be part of this list! The cathedral itself is beautiful, but there is also a view point located in front of the cathedral that’s also worth admiring. 

Matera Cathedral, City Guide
Matera Cathedral, City Guide

Closely (2,5 hour drive) located to Matera, you’ll find the beautiful city Lecce. There is plenty of stuff to do and there are many lovely bars and restaurants to enjoy your time in the city and it’s surroundings even more. 

Check out the full Lecce guide here as well as the food & drink guide to Lecce.

8 || discover sassi caveoso

The second day in Matera, we mainly spend on discovering Sassi Caveoso. To be honest, this might be my favourite city as it felt more lively and has many stunning corners and alleys.

Views over Sasso Caveoso, Matera, Italy
Details in Matera
Views over Sasso Caveoso, Matera, Italy

9 || head to via bruno BUOZZI

Via Bruno Buozzi is home to several restaurants, ice cream stalls and terraces. Looking for some well deserved rest after making your way up and down through the city.  

Via Bruno Buozzi, Matera
Via Bruno Buozzi, Matera

10 || hike towards belvedere murgia timone to overlook the city

Unfortunately, this is something we didn’t do. But – definitely cross over to the Murgia viewpoint to overlook the city. You can hike, but it is also possible to drive there if you want to save yourself the work-out in the temperatures that can be quite high in summer.

Matera, Nature Views
Views overlooking Materas Nature

11 || Church of saint peter (caveoso)

Another church, this time located in Sasso Caveoso. We haven’t visited the inside of the churches, but just enjoying the architecture is already great.

Church of Saint Peter 'Caveoso'

12 || Stroll around and discover all little alleys

The final ‘to do’ tip of this Matera City Guide is to just stroll around and discover. There are so many small alleys and you might discover something new around every corner. We’ve enjoyed wandering through the city and sometimes not even realizing or recognizing a certain point on whether we’ve been there or not or were on earth on the map we were. Just take your time and take it all in! 

Details in Matera
Walking the tiny streets and alleys of Matera, City Guide
Walking the tiny streets and alleys of Matera, City Guide
Views over Sasso Caveoso, Matera, Italy

EAT & DRINK

1 || AREA 8

The most popular bar in Matera and my personal favourite. Definitely pay a visit to Area 8 in the evening to enjoy a cocktail and the great summer vibes. 

Area 8, Matera City Guide
Area 8, Matera City Guide
Area 8, Matera City Guide

2 || Trattoria del Caveoso

A great place for your Italian food located in Sasso Caveoso. Enjoy a fancy pasta and don’t forget to enjoy an elaborate dessert! 

Trattoria Del Caveoso, Matera
Trattoria Del Caveoso, Matera

3 || RIDOLA

We sat down at Ridola for lunch, located near Piazza G. Pascoli. We enjoyed some gnocchi, melanzane and a salad. The wine on the table (greco) was also great!

Ridola, Matera City Guide
Ridola, Matera City Guide

4 || Nocelleria

A place that’s not that famous or popular, but we loved the simple vibe of the terrace, serving some great wines and getting your small snacks refilled a lot. Perfect place to read a book while watching the night fall. 

Nocelleria, Matera

5 || AND SOME MORE...

And of course, there is more to mention in this Matera City Guide. In the two days enjoying Matera, we haven’t been able to visit all the places that got recommended to us, also because some of the places were closed. Looking for more inspiration, definitely have a look at for example Enoteca Dai Tosi, Ristorante Soul Kitchen, 5 Lire, Mosto and L’Antica Credenza.

STAY

One of the most popular ways to spend the night and to stay in Matera is in one of the cave houses and cave hotels. However, we decided to go with a cheaper option that was also great. 

Cozy house matera

We stayed in a place called Cozy House Matera, a small appartement where we could stay with the 3 of use. It had a small kitchen, a separate bed room and was located on a 15 minute walk from the city center. Interested? You can find it here.


Source: Cozy House

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Matera City Guide, The Stone City in Italy

PIN FOR LATER:

Matera City Guide, The Stone City in Italy

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