Ten must-see stops for a splendid weekend in Matera: from the Sassi to the Murgia Park, with museums and shopping – visit it with us!
From relatively unknown tourist destination to European Capital of Culture 2019: Matera’s recent emergence has been truly incredible. The redevelopment that began in the 1950s, and the subsequent restoration of monuments and housing, have led Matera to be a unique place in the world, full of amazing beauty that the whole world envies us.
That’s why organizing a weekend in Matera, in any season, is always a great idea! History, art, and nature – here in particular are the ten attractions you cannot miss.
Let’s start with the Piano and the Civita
Yes, it may sound unusual, but the first stop we want to propose is outside the area of the legendary Sassi. The Piano is Matera’s modern downtown, a place rich in palazzi and churches constructed from the 17th century onward. The adjacent Civita is a natural fortress, one of the oldest settlement centers in the city.
The Cathedral of Matera, a sight to see
Right in the Civita, you can’t miss the Cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Bruna and St. Eustace: erected in 1270 in Apulian-Romanesque style, it features valuable medieval frescoes and is the protagonist of fascinating local legends.
Visit Matera in two days: Casa Grotta – the Cave House
Let’s move on to one of the symbols of Matera, the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, in the Sasso Caveoso: a house museum still furnished in the style of the time, with utensils and objects that will project you into the daily life of the inhabitants of the neighborhood. You can see the hearth with the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and the stable where the mule was kept. An essential attraction if you plan to visit Matera with children!
Matera – the Casa Cava
Once a typical Matera dwelling, the Casa Cava now houses a theater carved out of the rock in the rear: if you’re lucky enough to attend a performance, the acoustics will astonish you!
The Belvedere of Santa Maria de Idris
What is most astonishing about Matera is the sweeping townscape of myriad tufa houses that look like a giant, striking nativity scene: one of the best spots to enjoy this spectacle is the beautiful church of Santa Maria de Idris located in the Sasso Caveoso. While you are there, do not miss the opportunity to visit its interiors too, you will find white walls embellished with lively cave frescoes.
A weekend in Matera, stop at the Murgia Park
Matera’s natural surroundings are truly enchanting: don’t miss the opportunity for a hike in the Murgia Materana Park to wander the nature trails among the fauna, flora, and rock caves. Because of its unique landscape features, several films have been shot here, including Mel Gibson’s “The Passion”.
Casa Noha – a sight for a weekend in Matera
Also Casa Noha is an dwelling in Matera, the first FAI national trust heritage site in Basilicata. Inside, you can view a multimedia screening that illustrates the thousand-year history of the place and the customs and traditions of its inhabitants.
Shopping and crafts – souvenirs from Matera
In addition to looking around, take advantage of your weekend to eat in a trattoria in Matera and to buy the best of typical Matera handicrafts: small tufa objects, “Cuccù” whistles, as well as delicacies such as peperoni cruschi, jams, and typical wood-fired oven-baked bread. All great souvenirs!
The Palombaro Lungo in Matera
You can visit this very large underground cistern underneath the central Vittorio Veneto Square; the Palombaro Lungo is fascinating because it was dug entirely by hand and used to collect rain and spring water. You cannot miss a look at this “Water Cathedral”!
A sight you must visit in Matera: the Musma
Last stop at Musma – The Museum of Contemporary Sculpture, the world’s only underground museum housed in the striking Palazzo Pomarici and surrounding caves: here you can admire the unique blend of modern sculpture and ancient man-made settings – a remarkable experience.
What to see on a weekend in Matera
So, have we convinced you to take a two-day tour of Matera? Here are the top ten attractions in Matera that you can’t miss:
- The Piano and Civita
- The Cathedral
- Casa Grotta
- Casa Cava
- The Belvedere of Santa Maria de Idris
- The Murgia Park
- Casa Noha
- The quaint typical craft shops
- The Palombaro Lungo
- The Musma Museum
To Matera with Italo
You’re ready to go! The best way to reach the city of the Sassi is to take an Italo high-speed train to Naples Afragola and from there continue by bus to Matera: with Itabus you travel in comfort and without stress!