Skip to main content

If you love to combine Travel & Art, Italy is the place for you. We have already discussed about the places you should visit while in Florence/Tuscany. But if you are on South Italy, then you should definitely visit Matera.

Matera is one of the oldest towns in Italy and it is famous for its rock-cut urban architecture, making it one of the most unique places you have ever visited. People were living in this area for hundreds of years. The river Gravina and its good climate played a role for that. And we will focus on “Sassi di Matera”, which is the old town. This place is unique and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site back in 1993. In 2019, Matera was the European Capital of Culture (along with Plovdiv, in Bulgaria). These two factors played significant role in making Matera a touristic attraction.

What to do in Matera

  1. Cattedrale di Matera

In Matera, you will see several churches. Even if you are not a Catholic, we strongly recommend you to visit them. Their architecture is unique and inside they are very well preserved and decorated. The Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna is a spacious cathedral, which can host many people during the mass. Every year on July 2nd, they celebrate the Madonna della Bruna, a centuries-old feast in which religious and pagan rites follow one another. The most important element of the festival is the triumphal cart made by papier-mâché , which carries the statue of the Madonna of the Bruna with the baby Jesus. The papier-mâché cart is a real masterpiece of artisanal art and it require months to be designed and made by the local artists. And at the end of the day, they simply destroy it. They actually attack on it. It is madness!

2. Church of Saint Mary of Idris & San Pietro Caveoso

We told you there are many churches! The church of Saint Mary of Idris is located on Monterrone. It is a very old church and the frescoes are the remains from previous centuries. And once you finish with the church, you can enjoy the stunning view and take amazing photographs! And if you look down, you will find the church of San Pietro Caveoso, also worth visiting.

3. Casa Grotta nei Sassi

Matera is also called the underground city. Until 1952, people were living in caves. And not only that. Their stables were also at the same cave where they were sleeping. It was that year, that the government decided to relocate all the inhabitants away from the caves. 34 years later, people were allowed to turn these caves into households again, under some specific circumstances. Several people took advantage of that to turn these caves into guestrooms, restaurants or museums. There are several “Casa Grotta” in Matera. We recommend the “Casa Grotta nei Sassi” because apart from the cave that used to be a house, there is also a cave which used to be a church and another one which was a snow storehouse.

4. Murgia Materana Park

If you like hiking, then Murgia Materana Park is your destination. You can start from Old Town and then follow several trails. You will find paths which will take you to small churches, unique rocky caves and an outstanding view to Sassi. It takes from 2 to 4 hours (depending how fast you go). You should have a small bag and organize a picnic, you will adore it there!

5. And most important: Get lost in the small streets of Matera!

Every house has its own history. On every little street, you will find exceptional food and amazing cocktails. And if you travel on budget, no worries! Simply grab a couple of beers from a supermarket, find a spot that suits you and enjoy! According to our experience, you need one full day to see almost everything. However, if time is not an issue, we believe that two days are better. Especially if you want to visit the Murgia Materana Park. But even if you do not visit, going up and down in Matera is not easy, especially during the summer. Hopefully, there are local buses going around the old town!

Matera, a unique place where you can combine Travel & Art!

Leave a Reply