Matera Italy  Travel Guide and Hotel

Matera, Basilicata, the town of "Sassi"

Matera is a Lucanian city of 60,371 inhabitants. Its origins are very old, as evidenced by some findings dating back to the Paleolithic, for example in the Gravine of Matera, deep ravines dug by the water. But the first urban nucleus arises in the Age of Metals, and is probably of Greek origin. In 664 b.C. Matera becomes Longobards territory, and is annexed to the Duchy of Benevento. Between the ninth and tenth centuries, the city was the theatre of wars between the Longobards and Saracens, until it was destroyed by Ludwig II, king of the Franks, in an attempt to expel the Saracens. For a long time it was part of the possessions of the Aragonese until, in 1663, during the Spanish domination, it became the capital of Basilicata and the seat of the Regia Udienza, an ancient juridical institution that corresponds to the current Court of Appeal. It remains the capital of Basilicata until the arrival of Napoleon, who moved it to Potenza.

what to see in Matera - The "Sassi"


Walking through Matera is like going back in time, in a fascinating and unusual past: the narrow streets that intersect lead to discover the unique architecture of this city which, in 1993, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The particularity of Matera are the Sassi, the ancient part of the city composed of two large districts: Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, which enclose the oldest settlement of the Civita. The district of Sasso Caveoso is the oldest one, and is characterized by dwellings carved into the rock and remained almost intact over the centuries. From Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, on which stands the homonymous church, you can admire the magnificent view overlooking the Gravina: the Church of San Pietro dates back to 1218, but has undergone numerous changes, the last in the seventeenth century, which has given its current appearance, with the Baroque façade on which there are three portals surmounted by as many niches containing statues. The interior is enriched by many paintings and the altar is from the eighteenth century. The Cathedral is very beautiful, and has preserved intact its original appearance and its Romanesque-Pugliese style, at least on the outside, with the large rose window above the main door. The interior has undergone many changes over the centuries, and inside you can admire Byzantine frescoes and paintings from the 1700s. 

what to see in Matera  - The Murgia park

 You cannot miss a visit to the Murgia Park, which offers visitors a spectacular rock landscape: it is characterized by a type of soft rock dug by deep grooves and caves, inhabited since ancient times: here in fact there are many houses and about 150 churches dug into the tuff, often enriched by magnificent frescoes and engravings. And it is precisely the ancient fusion between nature and man that makes this park unique: bird watchers can admire numerous rare species of birds of prey that have found an ideal habitat here, such as the falcon or the lily falcon, but inside the park there are also many paths that allow you to go hiking to admire magnificent landscapes, and maybe take advantage of the almost vertical rocky walls to make a nice climb!


There are many events that take place in Matera during the year: in mid-June there is the Transhumance Festival, inside the Parco della Murgia, an ancient event that marks the beginning of the summer and which includes an excursion together to the herdsmen who bring grazing cows, historical tales and in the evening a rural dinner based on typical products, accompanied by traditional music. On July 2, on the occasion of the Feast of the Madonna Bruna, patron saint of the city, is organized a procession that carries the statue of the Madonna on a large Triumphal Chariot, made by master craftsmen, the festival ends with a fireworks show. In mid-October there is the Matera Balloon Festival, an incredible opportunity to see the sky of Matera colored by many hot-air balloons that will allow you to observe this magnificent land from an unusual angle: from the sky! In December, on the occasion of Christmas, the National Exhibition of Nativity Scene of Italy is organized, while those who want to dedicate themselves to a more festive activity, always in December there is the Matera Wine Festival, the opportunity to taste wines and champagne from Basilicata, often little known.


Hotels and B & B in MATERA and surroundings, with houses for rent for holidays. Here you will find complete descriptions of services with photos, you can also check prices and book without penalty of withdrawal.  

Consult here the list of Hotels in Matera and surroundings..  

Guided Tours and Activities in Matera

Where is MATERA


In 2015 Matera was designated, together with Plovdiv (Bulgaria) as the European Capital of Culture.

The Matera2019 Foundation is the organization that will coordinate all the actions aimed at making Matera the European platform of culture.

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