• sign in
  • |
  • sign up
  • |
  • my miniguide
  • |
  • write a review
Matera, Italy
Fast Facts
ACTIVITIES
Historic Interest
Ancient Ruins
Walking
 
 
Tourist Attractions

BEST

  for

KIDS

BEST

  for

KIDS

 
Kid-Friendly Hotels

BEST

  for

KIDS

 
Family-Friendly Tours
ACTIVE ADVENTURE
 
Family Travel Tips
 

Matera, Italy

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Matera may be isolated and difficult to reach yet a trip to this cave city is well worth the effort. Not only is Matera a World Heritage Site, it is one of Italy's most dramatic destinations. View cave dwellings inhabited since the Paleolithic. Learn about life in a one-room grotto. Tour rock-hewn or rupestrian churches. Hike up and down a hobbit-like hill. And while Matera is best known for its sassi or stones, the surrounding plateaus are of equal appeal. The rock paintings found at the Crypt of Original Sin are on a par with the Sistine Chapel. Grotta dei Pipistrelli, Bat Grotto in English, boasts traces of human habitation 40,000 years ancient. The Park of the Rupestrian Churches, on the far side of the ravine, offers more than a belvedere. It is a great place to hike, mountain bike and bird - albeit with a guide.
Getting There
 
Matera is situated in the least-served Italian province and is one of the country's most remote cities. The nearest airports are located in Bari and Naples, 54 km (34 miles) and 159 km (99 miles) respectively. And while Matera is reachable by bus and train, car travel is by far the most convenient mode of transport. Ferrovie Appulo Lucane connects Bari and Matera; the fastest train makes the trip in just under 90 minutes, others require a change in Altamura. The bus trip between Matera and Naples is both long and tortuous. (Buses also make the trip between Matera and Taranto as well as Matera and Potenza.) The state highway that connects Bari and Matera makes car travel between the two quick and easy. The road that links Matera and Naples is autostrada for much of the journey.
Getting Around
 
Matera is small and compact and easily navigated on foot. Yet unless you have a detailed guidebook any independent tour of the sassi di Matera and Parco della Murgia Materana will likely prove superficial. Not only are there few signs explaining the sights, local tour guides hold the keys to most of the rock-hewn churches.
When to Travel
 
While there is no right or wrong time of year to visit Matera there are a few things to consider when traveling with kids. In August the daytime high often exceeds 40°C (104° F). In February the sidewalks are slick due to frost and snow. The atmosphere is magical at Christmas. Matera is teeming with tourists at Easter and on all Italian holiday weekends - 1 November, 8 December, 25 April, 1 May and 2 June.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
You can't beat the sassi for scenery. Having said that, location and quality don't always go hand in hand. Hotels, B&Bs and restaurants on the edge of the old city offer better value than those in the stones. In keeping with southern tradition, meals are late in Matera. Lunch is served at 14:00. Restaurants don't open in the evening until 21:00. Bars in the sassi serve quick meals, such as sandwiches and salads, throughout the day.
Free Travel Journal
Get a free kids travel journal to document your family vacation.
Download PDF
Travel Trivia
Rome is the capital of: