Matera is the capital of the Matera province in the Basilicata region of Italy. It boasts the sassi, well-preserved rock-cut settlements that are a World Heritage site and one of Southern Italy's many important attractions.
Matera is a fairly big city. One of its quarters is the old city. Just outside the old city are the Sassi - cave houses dug into the limestone rocks. The sassi are located on both sides of a valley. On the north side the Sasso Barisano have been partially commercially developed as offices and housing. The Sasso Caveoso, on the south side, is the most historically interesting.
Matera is most easily reached from Bari in the Apulia region. The Ferrovie Appulo Lucane (FAL) runs trains from Bari to Matera Centrale, taking 1h30min with departures every 1-2 hours during the daytime. The FAL train station in Bari is located just outside of Bari Centrale and is toward the left as you walk out onto the large piazza with the buses and fountain. The company website is now up to date. The FAL does not run trains on Sunday, and does not accept rail passes. Tickets are approximately 4 euros each way; be sure to stamp your ticket with the machines before boarding.
After exiting Matera Centrale, there is a piazza to the left with various buses. From here, "Linea Sassi" buses to I Sassi di Matera every 30 minutes; the inexpensive tickets are sold upon boarding. The Sassi can also be reached on foot in about 20 minutes by walking straight ahead downhill from the piazza. The Sassi themselves can only be explored on foot, and tourist information is available locally.
It is highly recommended the use of a local tour guide, to really make some sense of various aspects of the old city, which is indeed one of a kind in its genre. Walking alone is not bad, but you would miss many interesting points. Matera Tour Guide
- Old city. From the station walk down via Roma to Pl Venet and take the stairs down into he old city.
- Caveoso cave churches. Entrance to the four main ones is €6.
- Guided tours, ☎ +39 3287666621, e-mail: email@example.com. Mon-Sun 09am/6pm. Join guided tour with a private guide or in a group
There are many restaurants in the old city as well as outside.
- Cafe Stone Age close to St. Antonius church in th Caveoso has a nice little terrace with flowers in pots and cold beers from all over the world.
There are common hotels in Matera. But sleeping in the caves is a completely different experience. There are hotels like Hotel Sant'Angelo made up of 16 historical dwellings, each with an average surface area of 50 square meters that correspond with other cave dwellings whose interiors have been reproduced and divided into various dwellings with living rooms. All rooms are furnished with: private bath, telephone, satellite television, air conditioning, a safe and mini-bar. But consider that you can enjoy the place staying in one of the many B&B's in the old town. B&B Casastella (Near to St. Barbara rocky church). The property is in part cut into the rock, with the remaining structure built on four levels with characteristic barrel-vaulted ceilings, restored from characteristic peasant dwellings such as the granary, stable, barn and wine cellar. Phone: 00390835310272 Address: Via Casalnuovo 257-75100 Matera Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hotel Matera, Via Fiorentini, 259, ☎ +39 0835-334583, fax: +39 0835-330021, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Suite Uso doppia €95.
- Hotel a Matera, via Casalnuovo 116 (Residence del Casalnuovo), ☎ +39 0835312329. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:30. Hotel Residence nei Sassi di Matera. 87.
If you hire a tour guide, be sure it is a licensed one. Many people there might stop you offering tourist services. Don't trust them much, they only care how to get money from you. This is recommended to hire a private official guide.
Guided tour Sassi of Matera
Visiting the Park of rock churches
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