Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

MATERA

Matera is one of the spectacular places in Italy you should visit. It is a city not like others and you will know why once you arrived. Forget about the beautiful coastlines of Amalfi, Positano region, winery places, romantic Venice or shopping paradise of Milan. Matera is a place that definitely deserve more attention too, and it should be on your list whilst visiting Italy. The Sassi di Matera are two districts (Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano) of the Italian city of Matera, Basilicata, well-known for their ancient cave dwellings inhabited since the Paleolithic period.

Let's have a look what this city can offer!

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

1. Get lost in Sassi di Matera

One of the most beautiful thing to do in Matera is just simply strolling around its fabulous city centre - sassi, which literally means "stones". The city center's architecture is on a list of UNESCO's heritage list and no wonder why! There are many panoramic viewpoint on the city, it is simply beautiful from every corner and angle. Matera is one of the oldest inhabited settlements in the world. People have lived in the town since Paleolithic era. Do you know that Matera is listed in 2019 European's cultural city alongside Plovdiv?

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

2. Check the 13th century Matera cathedral

Matera cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral which you can see from far away. Located on the top of the Civitas hill, it is trully a majestic cathedral with amazing views of the Sasso Barisano. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the designation of the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace.

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

3. Explore the living spaces inside Casa Grotta or Casa Noha

Ever wondered how is it to live in one of those stones houses? Then you should visit Casa Grotta or Casa Noha. Here visitors can see how people used to live in the caves dwelling in the 18th century, see the typical furniture and tools used in those times.

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

4. Stroll around the main square Piazza Vittorio Veneto

Piazza Vittorio Veneto is the central point of Matera where you will enter the old city center. It was previously called Plebiscito's square or also known as fountain square, because of the Fountain Ferdinandea which you won't miss. The fountain was restored by King Ferdinand II of Bourbon in 1832, it was originally situated at the foot of the castle hill and collected the water from that hill. After WWII it was moved inside the town park, and in 2009 it has been moved to this piazza. Besides the fountain, on this Vittorio Veneto square you can also see Annunziata's palace, which is now a home for Media library, the Provincial library and the cinema. The building is dominating the main square, so I am sure you won't be able to miss that too.

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City


5. Visit the rock Church of Saint Mary of Idris

Church of Saint Mary of Idris is a rock church carved out of the rock face and partly rebuilt after the barrel vault collapsed some time before the beginning of the C14th. The interior if the church is very plain with no architectural features. The Church of Santa Maria De Idris is located in the upper part of the rocky spur of Montirone (or Monterrone), near San Pietro Caveoso. The location is beautiful and offers a unique view of the city and the Gravina. In Matera you can find over 100 stoned churches, some of them well preserved some of them not really. If you have time, you should go and explore as many churches as you can.

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

6. Get the view on whole city from Murgia National Park

Murgia park or also known as park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera is located just outside of sassi. There are over 150 rock churches in the Murgia National park, and all of them are in different architecture and iconography. They were made mostly in the early Middle Ages. Besides these cave churches, the park is also characterised by a varied wild nature and botanical species. If you are exploring the Murgia National Park, then make sure to get to Belvedere di Murgia Timone viewpoint where you can have amazing panoramic view on the whole Matera.

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City


7. Walk down to the ravine

Take a walk around ravine of Matera city to see many abandonel medieval houses and churches. It is a great walk around the town's edges to enjoy melancholy of the beauty from inhabited side of town.

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

8. Stop by a sculpture park La Palomba

A bit more difficult to get in, a sit is located just outside the town off the main road, you can discover the open air gallery of huge sculptures. Besides that you can see Matera town from bottom up as well.

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City
Source: Anniversary Magazine IT

9. Spot Dali statues around the city

Dalí Universe, is proud to present an exhibition dedicated to Salvador Dalí “The Persistence of Opposites” in the historic ‘Sassi’ town of Matera. In 2019, Matera is the European capital of culture and, among the various artistic and cultural events scheduled for the occasion, it will host the impressive exhibition in a setting that will further increase its dramatic charm: in the open air among the Sassi. Don't miss Dali statues around the town for a limited time period!

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

10. Be amazed by Palombaro Lungo

Palombaro Lungo is located underneath Vittorio Veneto's square, and came to light just few years back. It is the largest underground water cistern of the town built in 1864. An ancient cistern with numerous rooms is a huge water tank carved out of the existing rock was supplying water to Materans living in there. Make sure to book a tour to visit thus magnificent giant cistern.

11. Spend a night in a boutique cave hotel

If you are planning to stay over in Matera, make sure to look for some unique boutique cave hotels in Sassi for an unusual experience. Alternatively, there are plenty of Airbnb stays and experiences also which you may want to explore to enhance your trip.

Booking.com


Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

Quick guide to Matera, the Stoned City

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