Fun Things to Do in Matera | Travel Guide (2024) | Best Places to Visit
Welcome to Matera, a city that will transport you back in time with its ancient cave dwellings and rich history. Located in the southern region of Basilicata, Matera is known for its unique Sassi, a complex network of cave dwellings that have been inhabited for over 9,000 years. These caves, carved into the limestone cliffs, offer a glimpse into the past and have earned Matera the title of "The City of Stones." As you explore the winding streets and narrow alleyways, you'll discover a fascinating blend of ancient architecture, stunning views, and a vibrant local culture that will leave you captivated. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination, Matera is a must-visit city that promises to leave a lasting impression.
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Things To Do In Matera
Matera is a beautiful and historic city located in the Basilicata region. It is known for its unique cave dwellings, ancient architecture, and rich cultural heritage. Here are some things to do in Matera:
1. Explore the Sassi di Matera: The Sassi di Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the main attraction of the city. These ancient cave dwellings, carved into the rock, offer a fascinating glimpse into Matera's past. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of these caves.
2. Visit the Matera Cathedral: The Matera Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna, is a stunning example of Apulian Romanesque architecture. Admire the intricate details of the facade and step inside to see the beautiful frescoes and religious artifacts.
3. Explore the Rupestrian Churches: Matera is home to numerous rupestrian churches, which are ancient churches carved into the rock. Visit the Church of San Pietro Barisano, the Church of Santa Lucia alle Malve, and the Church of San Giovanni in Monterrone to see the impressive frescoes and religious art.
4. Wander through the Historic Center: Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets of the historic center, known as the Civita. Admire the well-preserved medieval architecture, charming alleys, and picturesque views of the city.
5. Visit the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario: Step inside a traditional cave dwelling at the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario. This museum offers a glimpse into the daily life of Matera's inhabitants in the past, showcasing the furniture, tools, and decorations used in these caves.
6. Explore the MUSMA: The Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera (MUSMA) is a unique museum housed in a 17th-century palace. It showcases contemporary sculptures within the historic setting, creating an interesting juxtaposition of old and new.
7. Try the Local Cuisine: Matera is known for its delicious cuisine, so be sure to try some local dishes. Sample the traditional bread, known as "pane di Matera," and indulge in dishes like orecchiette pasta with turnip greens, lamb dishes, and the famous "peperoni cruschi" (crispy peppers).
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Best Time To Visit Matera
The best time to visit Matera is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). During these seasons, the weather is mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). Tourist crowds are also smaller compared to the summer months, allowing visitors to explore the city's attractions without the hustle and bustle. Additionally, spring and fall offer beautiful landscapes as the countryside surrounding Matera is lush and green. However, it is important to note that Matera can be visited throughout the year, and each season has its own unique charm.
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Best Hotels To Stay In Matera
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Best Areas To Stay In Matera
Matera is a beautiful city known for its unique cave dwellings and stunning architecture. When it comes to finding the best areas for accommodation in Matera, there are a few options to consider.
1. Sassi di Matera: This is the historic center of Matera and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Staying in the Sassi di Matera allows you to experience the charm and history of the city firsthand. You can find a variety of accommodations, including boutique hotels and guesthouses, nestled within the ancient cave dwellings. The narrow streets and picturesque views make this area a popular choice for tourists.
2. Piazza Vittorio Veneto: Located in the heart of Matera, Piazza Vittorio Veneto is a bustling square surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes. This area offers a mix of modern and traditional accommodations, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly options. Staying in Piazza Vittorio Veneto puts you within walking distance of many attractions, including the Cathedral of Matera and the Tramontano Castle.
3. Civita: Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Sassi di Matera, Civita offers panoramic views of the city. This area is known for its peaceful atmosphere and charming streets. Accommodations in Civita range from cozy bed and breakfasts to elegant hotels. Staying in Civita allows you to enjoy the tranquility of the countryside while still being close to the main attractions of Matera.
4. Matera Sud: If you prefer a more modern and residential area, Matera Sud is a good option. This area is located outside the historic center and offers a range of accommodations, including hotels and apartments. Matera Sud is well-connected to the city center by public transportation, making it a convenient choice for those who want to explore Matera while enjoying a quieter neighborhood.
Overall, Matera offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you choose to stay in the historic Sassi di Matera, the bustling Piazza Vittorio Veneto, the peaceful Civita, or the modern Matera Sud, you are sure to have a memorable stay in this enchanting city.
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Transportation To Matera
There are several transportation options to Matera.
1. By Air: The nearest airport to Matera is Bari Karol Wojty?a Airport (BRI), which is approximately 65 kilometers away. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to Matera.
2. By Train: Matera has a train station called Matera Centrale, which is well-connected to major Italian cities. You can take a train from cities like Rome, Naples, Bari, and Florence to reach Matera.
3. By Bus: There are bus services available from various cities in Italy to Matera. You can check the schedules and book tickets online or at the bus stations.
4. By Car: If you prefer driving, you can rent a car and reach Matera by road. Matera is well-connected to major highways in Italy.
Once you reach Matera, you can use local buses, taxis, or walk to explore the city and its attractions.
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Nearby Destinantion From Matera
1. Bari: A bustling coastal city known for its historic center and beautiful beaches.
2. Alberobello: A UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its unique trulli houses.
3. Taranto: A vibrant port city with a rich history and stunning waterfront.
4. Ostuni: A picturesque hilltop town known as the "White City" for its whitewashed buildings.
5. Polignano a Mare: A charming seaside town perched on cliffs, offering breathtaking views and delicious seafood.
6. Locorotondo: A quaint village known for its circular layout and charming narrow streets.
7. Matera: A captivating city famous for its ancient cave dwellings, known as "Sassi di Matera."
8. Martina Franca: A charming town renowned for its Baroque architecture and annual opera festival.
9. Gioia del Colle: A small town known for its medieval castle and delicious wines.
10. Altamura: A historic town famous for its traditional bread and well-preserved Romanesque cathedral.