Matera

There was much more to Matera than we expected. We could easily have spent another day or two in this area.

Day 1: Lecce to Matera

Changing trains in Bari was easy, except you needed to scan the barcode on your ticket to open the restroom and we couldn’t do it. (Neither could anyone else in the area.) There were lots of noisy teenagers on the train tossing a hat around. That got a sympathetic eyeroll from the woman across from us. We had some mild confusion in Altamura about how to catch the next train. It wasn’t a bad walk to our hotel in Matera.

Other than hitting the supermarket and having dinner at Dimitria nearby, we sat on the terrace and enjoyed the view. 

Day 2: Matera and Sassi

Finding our bus stop for when we leave tomorrow was a chore. Buses are always trickier because they can stop anywhere. This was complicated because the usual bus stop was under construction so there was a temporary stop. In the end we were happy to see a sign explicitly stating that was the meeting point for our bus. We are very happy we did this today rather than tomorrow morning with our baggage. After that we just walked around town.

city view

Beer and pizza sounded good so we stopped at Dottoni 3.0 and ate in a cave. We wanted another beer but the supermarket was closed so we bought one at our hotel. We had a siesta before the store reopened, where we got cheese and crackers. They didn’t have any cold beer so we got a local lager, Mathera, at the hotel. And gazed at the view some more. 

Essentials​

Lodging

We stayed at one of the cave hotels, Il Belvedere, because when will we have another chance? Our cave room was cool and the view from the shared terrace — which had plenty of space and seating — was stunning. Tasty breakfast with lots of options. It was nice to be able to have a drink on the terrace, either from the bar or our own bottle. Friendly and helpful staff.

Dining

We had dinner at Dimitria the night we arrived. It was one of the few restaurants near the hotel. Our one full day there we had a late pizza lunch at Dottoni 3.0. There were many places to eat closer to the town center.

Transportation

Matera is a little tricky to get to. Coming from the east there’s a local train (Ferrovie Appulo Lucane) from Bari. Heading to Sorrento in the west we found a combination bus and train connection from Trenitalia. It was the one ticket I bought from the trainline for this trip; I couldn’t find it through ItaliaRail. Once in Matera you can walk everywhere.