Awarded the 2019 European Capital of Culture, Matera (Italy) is known as the Subterranean City because of its numerous grey stone houses, carved out from the rock. Many of the caves have been transformed into stylish hotels and restaurants, however, you can still explore uninhabited grottos on the edge of town.
Annina 1937 is one of them. Charming and intimate, it’s one of the best restaurant where to start your full immersion in the local cuisine.
Must see places for a day trip to Matera
1. Sassi of Matera
The Sassi are a labyrinth of houses, tunnels, churches, caves, buildings dug into the calcarenitic rock itself. They originate from a prehistoric troglodyte settlement and are suspected to be among the first human settlements in Italy.
Defined as “one of the most unique landscapes in Europe”, a walk through them takes you back in time with a breathtaking lighted up scenery by night. More info
2. Matera Cathedral
A must see is the Roman Catholic cathedral located on the highest and most visible point of the city where the first inhabited nucleus of the Sassi was built. The privileged position offers a great view over the Sassi.
3. Murgia Park
Perfect place for hikers, Murgia Park extends over 8,000 hectares in the areas of Matera and Montescaglioso. Its landscape is dotted with soft limestone cliffs, gorges, and caves that humans have used for shelters since the Neolithic age. During the Byzantine period, more than 150 rock (or rupestrian) churches were created, some later taken over by Benedictine monks and other religious orders, and others becoming private homes or even sheep sheds.
Due to its size and unique history, it’s best to explore the Murgia Materana Park with an expert guide.
“Anyone who sees Matera
cannot help but be awestruck,
so expressive and touching
is its sorrowful beauty“
famous Italian-Jewish writer