Travel guide | Matera - Two-day itinerary


The city of Matera, part of the Basilicata region in southern Italy, is a destination that will surely leave you speechless. Famous all over the world for the houses and churches dug in the calcareous rock, Matera it is the ideal destination where rich history and fascinating architecture meet. This city will make you feel as if you have teleported to another era. It is said about the ancient city "Sassi di Matera" that it has its origins from ancient times, these dwellings being considered among the first settlements in Italy, since prehistoric times.

Currently, the old area "Sassi di Matera" is registered in UNESCO heritage since 1993 and represents one of the most visited places in the world, in 2019 it was also chosen as the European Cultural Capital. But the area was not always so appreciated, until the 50s this city was considered the shame of Italy due to poverty. Fortunately, this has changed and the city is now appreciated by both locals and tourists. Below we will give you some ideas for accommodation, activities and restaurants to enjoy this holiday.

Where are you staying in Matera?

Being such a tourist destination, the city offers numerous accommodation alternatives at extremely good prices. You can opt for accommodation in an old building, full of history with a unique atmosphere or in a modern location with a minimalist design. Below you will find some of our recommendations.

Located in the central area, this hotel is truly unique. Located in a traditional house, dug into the rock, part of the UNESCO heritage. The rooms are furnished in a rustic style, decorated with natural materials such as wood. For one night's accommodation, the price of a double room is 101, this price includes breakfast.

Located in a building dug into the rock, this hotel is the solution for a successful vacation. With access to the spa and swimming pool, the hotel offers a multitude of facilities including bicycles to explore the city. The price for a double room with breakfast included is 132 euros.

This accommodation unit offers modern rooms with a minimalist design and the price-quality ratio is an extremely good one. Located near the central area, with all the facilities you could need including free wifi, the price for a double room starts from 72 euros.

Day 1

We recommend that you start your adventure in Sassi di Matera, the old part of the city. Here you will be able to walk along winding streets, paved with stone, as if from a historical film. You will be able to visit houses and old churches and you will find out how people lived in this area in the past.

Convento di Sant'Agostino

This incredible panoramic point is a perfect starting point to discover the beauty of the ancient city. Here you will be able to immortalize some dream shots while the amazing view will take your breath away.

Cathedral of Matera

From this destination, we recommend that you walk along the charming streets until you reach the Duomo di Matera. This Roman Catholic cathedral impresses with its history and architecture. Its construction dates back to the 1300s, being dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the name Madonna della Bruna and Saint Eustachio.

MUSMA (Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera)

After you have admired the beauty of the cathedral and learned a little about its history, you can pay a visit to MUSMA (Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera), a museum dedicated to sculpture. It was opened in 2006 and is based in Palazzo Pomarici, in the highest part of the Sassi district. It has around 270 works from 200 different artists including Giorgio De Chirico, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Giacomo Manzù and Pablo Picasso. For this visit you should allocate about an hour, the museum is open daily until 6 pm and the price of one ticket it is 7 euros for adults.

Sassi di Matera

To relax a little after visiting the museum, we recommend you to discover the beauties of the Sassi di Matera area on foot. During your walk you will discover wonderful places and you will understand how people lived in the past in this area. Sassi di Matera are two districts (Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano) of the Italian city, well-known for their ancient houses that take the form of caves. History They are considered the first human settlements in Italy, with evidence that people lived here since 7000 BC.

In this area, in addition to the enchanting views and charming streets, you can visit some of the former houses dug into the rock. If you want to discover more about how people lived in Sassi, you must visit Casa Grotta, a kind of museum where you will be able to feel the atmosphere of a typical home. It is visited for a fee, the price of one ticket being 5 euros, you can find more details here.

In the evening you can admire a beautiful sunset from one of the many panoramic points of the city and to end the day we recommend you to serve dinner in a small Italian restaurant where you can try dishes specific to the area, but you will find more recommendations in the following .

Day 2

Chiesa Dei Santi Pietro e Paolo

The first objective we recommend is the imposing Church of Saints Peter and Paul, popularly known as the church of San Pietro Caveoso, Matera is a place of Catholic worship, originating from the end of the 13th century. For those who are passionate about architecture, this tourist objective should not be missed, impressing with its evolution over time and with its baroque facade.

Pallazo Lanfranchi

In this building with a rich history dating back to the 1600s, you will be able to discover two of the most interesting museums in Matera. The National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art in Basilicata in the Lanfranchi Palace was inaugurated on May 6, 2003, at the end of the restoration works. Here you will be able to see relevant exhibits both for the history of the area and for the history of Italy, but also unique pieces of art. The price of a ticket is 5 euros for adults, we recommend that you allocate at least an hour and a half for this objective.

Museo archeologico nazionale Domenico Ridola

Next, we recommend you to visit the Domenico Ridola Matera National Archaeological Museum, it is the oldest museum in Basilicata. Founded in 1911 by the senator and doctor Domenico Ridola, who donated to the state his important archaeological collections, which contain important pieces found in the territory of the province of Matera and Murgia. Here you will be able to admire exhibits dating from prehistoric times to the 3rd century BC. The price of one ticket it is 5 euros for an adult and the duration of the visit varies between one and two hours.

Purgatory Church

Near the museum is the Church of San Domenico, built in Romanesque style in the 13th century, located in Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Here you will be able to admire special architectural elements and when you finish the visit you will be able to stop in Vittorio Veneto Square to rest a little and feel the lively atmosphere of the city.

Castello Tramontano

Finally, we recommend a visit to Castello Tramontano. With a fascinating history, the construction of this castle dates back to the 1500s. Here you will be able to discover key elements related to the history of the place, the story of Count Giovani Carlo, the one who built this castle. Moreover, the castle is located on a hill called lapillo hill, overlooking the historic city of Matera.


Italian gastronomy is well known all over the world. Here you will definitely find a multitude of dishes to try, being the ideal destination for a gourmet looking for new experiences. From the famous pizza to refined pastas and desserts, Italian gastronomy is full of alternatives. Seafood dishes, which are fresh, delicious and simply cooked, are specific to the southern area where Matera is also located.

Cozzes a preparation of mussels with red sauce, in butter, in their own juice with pepper or spicy, according to everyone's taste, served with crusty bread. The preparation is divine, which impresses with its simplicity.

Pasta alle vongole this is a dish based on pasta and clams, seasoned with fresh parsley and aromatic spices. For seafood lovers, it will definitely be an unmissable experience.

gnocchi these potato pastas have a fluffy texture. Served with various sauces, spinach or even meat, this kind of food will be to everyone's taste.

Lemon delight a kind of Italian cake, filled with lemon cream, sprinkled with Limoncello syrup and covered with whipped cream and small strips of lemon peel, an explosion of flavors in the true sense of the word.

Baba al Rhum it is a cake made from a simple shortbread dough, similar to a savarina drowned in rum, it is a simple and fragrant dessert perfect for a relaxed afternoon.

Where do you eat in Matera?

  • Trattoria del Caveoso is located in the heart of the old quarter and is one of the best restaurants in Matera to try traditional cuisine. The restaurant is located in an old cave with a traditional decoration. The menu is diverse, from simple dishes to more sophisticated dishes at excellent prices, prices for a main course starting from 8 euros.
  • La Lopa an intimate place with a pleasant, welcoming atmosphere. Located in an old cave with fine dishes and a friendly selection for those who are vegan or vegetarian. The prices are moderate, a delicious portion of pasta costs 16 euros.
  • Ristorante Francesca with a superb outdoor terrace, this place is ideal for those who want to try as many types of food as possible. Known for its varied appetizers, this restaurant offers variety at reasonable prices.

Matera it is definitely the ideal destination for those who are passionate about history, architecture, gastronomy, but also for those who want new and unique experiences.

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