Matera  is the capital of the Matera province in the Basilicata region of Italy. It boasts the sassi, well-preserved rock-cut settlements that are a World Heritage site and one of Southern Italy's most important attractions.
Matera is a fairly big city. One of its quarters is the old city. Just outside the old city are the Sassi - cave houses dug into the limestone rocks. The sassi are located on both sides of a valley. On the north side the Sasso Barisano have been partially commercially developed as offices and housing. The Sasso Caveoso, on the south side, is the most historically interesting.
The closest airport is in Bari, 60km from Matera. The airport is connected with many Italian and international cities such as Milan, Rome, Verona, Torino, Venice, Trapani, Bergamo, Bologna, London (Stansted and Gatwick), Paris, Barcelona, Bruxelles, Cologne, Bucarest, Tirana, Stuttgart, Munich, Timisoara.
Matera is most easily reached from Bari in the Apulia region. The Ferrovie Appulo Lucane (FAL) runs trains from Bari to Matera Centrale, taking 1h30min with departures every 1-2 hours during the daytime. The FAL train station in Bari is located just outside of Bari Centrale and is toward the left as you walk out onto the large piazza with the buses and fountain. The company website is now up to date. The FAL does not run trains on Sunday, and does not accept rail passes. Tickets are €4.90 each way and can be purchased from the ticket machines. The platform is at a higher level so when you enter, turn right and take the elevator to the 1st floor.
Many options from Naples and Bari
After exiting Matera Centrale, there is a piazza to the left with various buses. From here, "Linea Sassi" buses to I Sassi di Matera every 30 minutes; the inexpensive tickets are sold upon boarding. The Sassi can also be reached on foot in about 20 minutes by walking straight ahead downhill from the piazza. The Sassi themselves can only be explored on foot, and tourist information is available locally.
It is highly recommended the use of a local tour guide, to really make some sense of various aspects of the old city, which is indeed one of a kind in its genre. To get in contact with a local guide without paying agencies, try with www.materatourguide.it .This is one of the top listed guides recommended by travellers, if you go to visit Matera.
- Old city. From the station walk down via Roma to Pl Venet and take the stairs down into he old city.
Sassi di MateraEdit
The "Sassi" are two districts (Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano) and one of the most unique landscapes you can find in Europe. They've been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993 together with the Rupestrian Churches.
The origin of the Sassi dates back to at least 7000 BC, that makes them one of the first human settlements in the Italian peninsula. Sassi are houses dug into the rocks (the Italian word sasso derives from the Latin saxum and means "rock").
The Women's Fiction Festival is held late every September in the Sassi District, and attracts an international contingent of writers, agents and editors. 
Go hiking across the river to see caves and old churches embedded in the rock. Start from the carpark on via Madonna delle Virtu. To cross the river you can try jumping from rock to rock if you are nimble or utilise the temporary bridges if you are not. You can visit the old city with Ape tour in Matera Ape nei Sassi.
The best things to buy are local products and souvenirs. There are several craft shops where you can find the "cuccù", a ceramic whistle traditionally shaped like a rooster and painted in bright colors.
There are many restaurants in the old city as well as outside.
- Quattroquarti - Crostaemollica, Via Ascanio Persio 25, ☎ +39 393 9662961 ([email protected]). Sandwiches (the typical puccia bread) and more for a quick lunch. edit
- Materia Prima Bistrot, via San Biagio 37, ☎ +39 320 7019634 ([email protected]), . Food and wine, cheap and very good quality edit
- Vicolo Cieco Salsamenteria, via fiorentini 74, . Wine bar where you can also eat local products. edit
- Osteria Belvedere al vecchio frantoio, Recinto Ospedale Vecchio,5/6/7, ([email protected]), . edit
- Regia Corte - Restaurant and lounge terrace, piazza San Pietro Caveoso, ☎ +39 0835 312914 ([email protected], fax: +39 0835 314735), . Traditional recipes, beautiful view on the old town. edit
- Enoteca dai Tosi, via Bruno Buozzi, 12 (Sasso Caveoso), ☎ +39 0835 314029 ([email protected]), . Tuesday closed; other days 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-midnight. Wine bar with Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. edit
- Basquiat Il Ristorantino, via Lucana 3, ☎ +39 335 543 8682, . Italian gourmet cuisine edit
- La Lopa, Via Bruno Buozzi, 13 (Sasso Caveoso), ☎ +39 0835 165 1370 ([email protected]), . 12:30 - 14:30 | 19:30 - 22:30. Materan cuisine edit
- Dimora Ulmo, Via Pennino, 28 Matera, ☎ +39 0835 1650398 ([email protected]), . Lunch 13:00 - 14:30; dinner 20:00 - 21:30. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays (lunch and dinner) and Wednesday (lunch). In the old town, in a 18th century palace, the restaurant also features an impressive Italian art collection. Advance booking highly recommended. edit
- Vitantonio Lombardo Ristorante, via Madonna delle Virtù, 13/14, ☎ +39 0835 335475 ([email protected]), . Mon, Thu-Sun: 12:30-14:00 ~ 19:30-22:00; Tuesday closed; Wed 19:30-22:00. Michelin-star restaurant run by chef Vitantonio Lombardo. edit
- L'Abbondanza Lucana, via (Sasso Caveoso), ☎ +39 0835 334574 ([email protected]), . Local products, advance booking recommended as they only have 35 seats. edit
- B&B Bagni di Sole, Via Annibale M. di Francia, ☎ +39 3478510716 ([email protected]), . double rooms from 55€. edit
- Matera Sassi Rooms, via Benedetto Croce 21, ☎ +39 0835 1970042 ([email protected]), . Bed and breakfast edit
- I Tre Fiori, Via Fosse Ardeatine, 4, ☎ +39 0835 332194 ([email protected]fiori.it), . Bed and breakfast edit
- Hotel Sant'Angelo, Piazza S. Pietro Caveoso, ☎ +39 0835 314010 ([email protected], fax: +39 0835 314735), . Hotel Sant'Angelo is made up of 16 historical cave dwellings. All rooms are furnished with private bath, telephone, satellite television, air conditioning, a safe and mini-bar. edit
- B&B Casastella, Via Casalnuovo 257, ☎ +39 335 6534040 ([email protected]), . (Near to St. Barbara rocky church). The property is in part cut into the rock, with the remaining structure built on four levels with characteristic barrel-vaulted ceilings, restored from characteristic peasant dwellings such as the granary, stable, barn and wine cellar. edit
- Hotel Casalnuovo, via Casalnuovo 116 (Residence del Casalnuovo), ☎ +39 0835 312329 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00-21:00; checkout: 7:30-10:00. Hotel Residence nei Sassi di Matera. 87. edit
- Hotel Residence San Giovanni Vecchio, via San Giovanni Vecchio 77 (Residence San Giovanni Vecchio), ☎ 0835334281 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Located in the heart of the Sassi, prehistoric caves, the San Giovanni Vecchio offers spacious and comfortable rooms arranged around a courtyard. Double from 90. edit
- Hotel Il Belvedere (Matera's Hotel), via Casalnuovo 133 (Sassi), ☎ +390835311702 ([email protected]), . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Double from 90. edit
- Sant'Angelo Luxury Resort, Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, ☎ +39 0822.214.171.124 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. 5 stars luxury resort in the "Sassi" of Matera. edit
- Palazzo Gattini, Piazza Duomo, 13, ☎ +39 0835 33 43 58 ([email protected]), . Luxury hotel with spa and restaurant. edit
- Aquatio Cave Hotel and Spa, Via Conche, 12 (Sasso Caveoso), ☎ +39 080 222 99 99 ([email protected]), . 5 stars hotel and spa opened in 2018 with 35 rooms and suites in the heart of Sasso Caveoso district of Matera's Sassi. edit
If you hire a tour guide, make sure they are licensed. Many people might try to offer you tourist services, but they are only looking to take your money.
There are many places around Matera that are well worth a visit such as the beautiful villages of Castelmezzano (one of the "most beautiful villages of Italy") and Montescaglioso. You can also go and visit the ancient town of Policoro on the Ionian Sea and the nearby Metaponto and its important archaeological area.
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