Park of the Rupestrian Churches, Matera
Fast Facts




S.S. 7 (Direction Taranto)
75100 Matera
+39 0835 332262
Ancient Ruins
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Parco della Murgia Materana


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

The Park of the Rupestrian Churches, also known as the belvedere and Parco della Murgia Materana, is the most splendid site in Matera. Yet like so many things in southern Italy it lacks the resources and public will to make it a first-rate attraction. Nearly all of the rupestrian or rock-hewn churches are closed to the public. There are no waymarkers or self-guided trails. Detailed maps are hard to come by. Vipers inhabit the park. What's more, the karst landscape is riddled with unmarked sinkholes. Having said that, where there's a will there's a way. The enterprising residents of Matera have filled the government gap and offer every conceivable tour of the park. Join a guided bus tour and see the highlights. Hire a guide and search for rupestrian churches. Spend an hour or two at the belvedere or a half-day hiking or biking in the wild countryside. And, in addition to keeping your eyes peeled for Europe's smallest raptors, find out how water created caves and how the daily activity of the cave-dwellers transformed the grotto. The Murgia is a place where human and nature meet.
Getting There
Park of the Rupestrian Churches covers 8,000 hectares and extends from Matera to Montescaglioso. The only way to reach the park is by private vehicle or guided tour.
Getting Around
Any independent tour of the park will only get you to the overlook and few caves on the canyon's edge. Organized tours provide historical and cultural insight and hold the keys to a church or two. The only way to get beyond the boardwalk and hike or bike in the park is via private tour.
Things to Keep in Mind
Apart from an introductory film the Environmental Educational Center offers little. They hold the keys to 2 churches but offer no tours or commentary.
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