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The Southern Italy city of Matera sprawls along the western banks of the Gravina River. Matera was developed around the Sassi di Matera caves, site of one of the oldest human settlements in the country.
Today, Matera’s vibrant cultural attractions, dynamic cuisine scene, and centuries-old structures draw tourists from all over the globe, making it one of Europe’s top travel destinations. Thanks to its must-see-city status, Matera lodging options are diverse. Visitors can cozy up in a cave hotel or stick to traditional settings that feature stunning city views.
Matera isn’t a city often stumbled upon, though. Traveling here requires some planning. The city’s nestled in a rural, river-carved region, with just a handful of roads leading to it. The nearest airport is in Bari, a two-hour public transit ride away. Rail is one of the easiest ways to access Matera; city and regional routes run through the Matera Centrale railway station.
Fun Fact: Matera’s unmatched primitive profile has deemed it a popular filming location. It’s been featured in dozens of movies, including The Passion of the Christ and the 2016 American adaptation of Ben-Hur.
Modern amenities are intertwined with ancient design in Matera; excellent eateries and fascinating museums highlight the city’s culture, and breathtaking historical sights abound.
Matera trip itineraries are easy to fill, though visiting the city on a whim can be equally appealing. Matera’s attractions are diverse; whether you seek insight into Paleolithic cave life or hope to stroll the city’s romantic streets, you’ll find lots to love in Matera.
Ease into the day with coffee and croissants at Caffe Tripoli.
Scope out the city from the Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli overlook.
See artifacts from Matera’s past at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Domenico Ridola. Highlights include handmade ceramics, dioramas depicting prehistoric building methods, and items from the Iron Age.
Learn about Matera’s top attractions by joining a guided walking tour of the city. Most excursions last two hours and visit three or four historical sites.
Examine the intricate biblical scenes portrayed on the frescoes at the Crypt of Original Sin.
Cook up traditional Matera cuisines by booking a slot in a private Italian cooking class.
Take a wine-and-cheese break at the quirky Vicolo Cieco wine bar.
Set aside time to explore Matera’s historic churches. Must-see sites include the 13th-century Matera Cathedral, the Church of Saint John Baptist, and the stunning San Nicola dei Greci e Madonna delle Virtù.
Sample some of Matera’s best seafood at La Grotta nei Sassi. Opt for al fresco dining on the restaurant’s rooftop or enjoy a secluded spot in its primitive, yet elegant interior.
Bus (public and private)
Train (Matera Centrale railway station)
Visit Matera, and you can extend your explorations to the broader Basilicata region. Mountains and rivers make up over half of the terrain, providing exceptional panoramic views. The port city of Bari is an easy day trip away, and the historically-rich Taranto is an hour’s drive south on the shores of the Gulf of Taranto.
Before hopping a bus to Basilicata’s best sights, find luggage storage in Matera. Book a reservation with Bounce, and you can drop off your extra gear in a secure, easy-to-access spot.
Sassi di Matera: To view ancient building techniques, primitive cave dwellings, and remnants of human habitation dating back over 9,000 years, aim for Sassi di Matera. The cave-carved settlements are divided into two sectors, known as Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso. Modern-day Matera has been developed around these historic districts, though most of the “sassi” (houses built into stone) are still relatively intact. The structures have continued to serve as makeshift dwellings through as recently as the mid-20th century, though many have since been renovated to accommodate restaurants and shops. It’s easy to visit Sassi di Matera, and most of the streets within the primitive neighborhoods can be explored on foot. For maximum exposure and some expert insight into the sassi sites, join a guided tour.
MOOM Matera Olive Oil Museum: A visit to Southern Italy wouldn’t be complete without learning a little bit about one of the region’s most popular goods. At this Matera museum, you can follow olives through the traditional oil-making process. The museum is housed in a 16th-century oil production site that was built within a cave. Tours of this fascinating facility need to be booked in advance. During a guided visit, you’ll see heavy stone wheels, massive olive presses, and re-created millers’ quarters, complete with straw beds and rainwater collection tubs. The oil education doesn’t stop at the exhibits, though. After polishing up on the process, you can sample some local flavors in the museum’s upper level.
Parco della Murgia Materana: This regional park is the perfect place to seek a little respite from the city. The parklands span a limestone plateau just east of Matera and offer excellent views of the city and surrounding countryside. Before you venture into this natural retreat, drop your bags at a Matera luggage storage site. Your gear will be secure, your hands will be free, and you can head for the rocks. Rivers and streams wind through the terrain, providing opportunities for tranquil treks and wildlife-watching. The park is also known for its unique Middle Age churches. While exploring the stone-carved sites, you’ll see distinct architectural designs representing different purposes and eras. Guided walking tours are offered, or you can cover a little extra ground by ponying up to a horseback riding excursion through the park.
Convenient to the Met, which does not allow luggage at coat check. Very easy check in and check out process, with lovely people at the front!
This was so cool!!!! Great service, extremely easy to use, and totally affordable! I didn't know where I'd leave my luggage while we explored San Fran, so I easily Googled luggage storage and found this company. At first it was a little odd dropping my bag off at a chocolate store, but the lady at the register was able to immediately pull up my reservation without any problems and then she put a lock on my suitcase and gave me a card to get it back with. She pushed the bag to the back of their storage room and I came back about 6 hours later to pick it up. Great service, I will definitely be using this again when I travel!
Can’t believe I haven’t used this service until now. So easy & convenient. I 100% recommend.
The price for luggage storage in Matera is just $5.90/bag for the entire day.
There are multiple locations all around Matera which can be booked through the Bounce platform including near Sassi di Matera Dwellings, Palombaro Lungo, Matera Cathedral and many other areas.
Yes. Every bag is tagged with a security seal and comes with the $10,000 Bounce Guarantee. Every location is required to uphold tight security precautions. You may be asked to show ID and you will be required to use a credit card to book through Bounce in advance. With hundreds of thousands of bags stored, you can count on Bounce to handle your baggage in Matera.
Yes. There are storage lockers and many other luggage drop off points in Matera. Bounce has multiple locations throughout Matera where you can conveniently store your luggage with full security and the $10,000 Bounce Gurantee.
The most popular restaurants to visit are Mosto, Da Nonna Rosa, and Quattroquarti Crostaemollica. Additionally, the highest ranked hotels within Matera are Hilton Garden Inn Matera, B&B Le Tre Civette, and Sassisuite B&B.
Matera offers several scenic parks including Parco Serra Venerdì, Parco Giovanni Paolo II, and Parco Scultura La Palomba.
You can find local tourist information at InfoMatera - Tourist Information, Tourist Information Office, and Condominio.
If you're looking for a good museum in Matera, we recommend Matera, Palazzo Lanfranchi, and Musma. If you prefer to be outside, you can give yourself a walking tour and see some of Matera's most popular historical attractions including Sassi di Matera Dwellings and monuments like Crypt of Original Sin, 21 Settembre 1943 - Insurrezione della città contro il nazifascismo, or La Goccia, Kengiro Azuma. Lastly, you can enjoy the local ruin of Palombaro Lungo, Craco, or Madonna degli Angeli.