Experience the Matera Magic. In the South of Italy you will find the Sassi of Matera.
Now let me be honest, the temperature is HOT in summer. We were there in July 2017 and it was HOT. Like a lot of Southern Italy there were adequate water fountains available to refill drink bottles. Good footwear for exploring is a must have also.
This is an incredible opportunity to experience the history of humans from up to 7000 years ago. The city was allegedly founded by the Romans in 3rd century BC.
The old city is truly amazing and a highlight of our time in Italy. Don’t miss our cave video below!
Accommodation – Where did we stay
We stayed with our campervan at Area Masseria Radonga a Sosta just outside of town with a shuttle available for €1.50 per person every day at 9am and returning at 3:30pm from the old city.
They often have movie nights and a small restaurant is in the visitor centre but we are unsure of the hours it holds. The Sosta had a shower (although Hot Water needed fixing but OK as it is soooo hot outside anyway while we were there). Toilet, dump point, electricity available and importantly afternoon shade.
NB. Our Tom Tom by address only (recently we have learnt to use GPS co-ordinates) could not locate this and we needed internet / google maps to bring us in – worth the effort)
Exploring the Old City
We took up the offer of the Sosta shuttle and arrived in town just after 9am. Nothing really opens till 10am so don’t hurry. We went to the Madonna delle Virtu e San Nicola dei Greci (which you get a discount for by staying at Area Masseria Radonga) Every bit of saving helps!)
This will give you an idea of how the raw caves look and feel when they were being used as late as 1950! This entry includes The Monastery, Saint Nicholas of Greek and Cave Dwellings. There is a YOUTUBE available here with a view of some of the Monastery and raw caves you will see.
We visited the Cathedrale Maria SS Della Bruna E Sant’Eustachio, construction which started in 1230 and finished in 1270. There is a quick minute long YOUTUBE for those interested in seeing the beautiful interior in more detail here.
See a cave as it was lived in! When visiting the Casa Grotta di vico Solitario we were lucky enough to catch the English narration voiceover as I was filming which we share with you here on YOUTUBE. It gives an amazing overview of life as it would of been -Watch it now!
It is an amazing view into the the original peasant life of this Historical site featuring a recreated cave dwelling with period furnishings, tools & artifacts. This was our highlight and not to be missed. As part of the entry you are also given access to a short video and additional caves.
One of the caves explains how they used to have Snow Cisterns to store large ice cubes. These were made by spreading the snow out with a shovel evenly. They then packed them using the shovel to form 20-30cm high parallelepipeds separated by approximately 10cm thick layers of straw. This was supposed to make it easier for the blocks of ice to come apart, as needed. Amazing!
What a great opportunity for worldschooling our Miss B, exploring an ancient city, walking through caves and seeing what life used to be like in this region of Southern Italy. Not to mention lots of reading practice with information boards in English!
The feel of this town is very special, it is like walking back in time. The stone pathways and hidden shops amongst the stone walls provide an interesting and enjoyable walking tour around the old city.
Don’t forget your hat, drink bottle and comfortable walking shoes. You are sure to love Matera as much as we did.
Experience the Matera Magic and let us know what you thought too!
P.S Here is a souvenir we bought (we dont buy many) handmade from this guy, Love it! He is situated right near the Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo.