Matera Travel Guide: Italy’s Hidden Gem

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travel guide to matera

Matera can be found in the Southern area of Italy. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because it rarely gets much coverage. Everyone excites themselves about Milan, Rome, Venice, NapoliThe Amalfi Coast, etc. But, hardly anyone pays attention to this gorgeous part of the country. For me, it’s one of the biggest hidden gems in Europe!

With that in mind, here’s a short little travel guide to help you uncover this hidden beauty:

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travel guide to matera
Getting there…

First thing’s first, how do you get to Matera? It’s only a small town, so there’s no airport. The closest one is Bari, so your best bet is to fly there. From here, you can get a bus that stops off at Matera, and it shouldn’t be too long. On a good day, you’ll get there in just over an hour. It’s a cheap journey too - it usually costs around 3 Euros for a single ticket. 

Getting around…

Mostly, you’ll be able to walk around this gorgeous town. Most of the attractions are within walking distance, or else you’ll need to get a bus. You could rent a car, but it can be hard to drive in Italy as everyone’s a little bit crazy. It might be worth buying or renting pocket wifi in Italy as Matera does have a lot of black spots as you walk around. It’s a cavernous region, and far from modern, so your mobile data won’t really be that good. With pocket wifi, you can connect to the most secure network in the area and have a portable wifi signal in your backpack.

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Staying in Matera...

Strangely, staying in Matera is one of the main attractions here. You see, the town is built onto the side of a mountain. As such, it has loads of cute little caves for you to stay in. A lot of hotels in this region have rooms that literally look like caves. Of course, you get all the usual amenities and home comforts - with some places even having cave spas for you to enjoy as well. If you do come here, then you have to stay in a cave hotel - it’s pretty much non-negotiable.

Things to do…

Matera is a culturally rich place with so many amazing sights. You can spend days walking around the town, exploring different caves and iconic sites. One thing you must see is the Sassi di Matera. This is a series of preserved cave dwellings that are almost too beautiful to be real. The cathedral is also well worth a visit as it’s truly stunning, and there’s a nearby park area that’s perfect for long walks. Of course, you have to spend a lot of time eating like a local as well. There’s hand-rolled pasta, woodfired pizza - and you must try the local lemon and prosciutto too! 

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You’ve probably never heard of this town before, but it’s such an insane place to visit. If you fancy straying from the typical path of Italian tourism and trying something different, then check out this hidden gem.

*All pictures via Pinterest.



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