Besides its tragic history, Matera is all about the view and the view from the terrace of this excellent B&B is breathtaking. The terrace is easily accessed from all rooms, and there are tables and chairs for those who like to have their meals outside. The view at night is stunning. Add a nice bottle of wine and a yummy pizza, you'll have a lovely evening to remember. (By the way, it is situated very near three of the recommended eateries in the Lonely Planet guide.)
Our room is spacious and simply but tastefully decorated with warm colors. The bed is comfortable and the air in the room remains cool and fresh in the summer as is the case with these ancient cave dwellings. But the best part of our room is the bathroom. It is huge (bigger than some hotel rooms) with wooden floors and soft lighting, and an enormous tub. it's the kind of bathroom you'd expect from a fancy overpriced hotel. So if fancy bathroom is your thing, ask for Room No. 1. Annamaria, the hospitable lady boss, showed us a couple of the other rooms and they were all different in their own way, just as lovely, and some with a more distinct cavernous structure.
Annamaria and her husband Mimmo, were excellent hosts, always checking to see if everything was ok and offering us freshly-brewed coffee when we see them. They were very helpful with information, making inquiry calls for us etc. I can't say enough about how wonderful they were.
When we first arrived, we asked Annamaria and Mimmo what was the best way to go about making a day trip to Alberobello. It was about 3 hours there and 3 hours back by public transport so the best way is to go by car and would cost maybe about 60 Euros. They would make some calls and let us know. Honestly, we didn't think much would come out of it as they seemed so laid-back and non committal. So imagine our surprise when they told us they will take us there. We had expected to be billed with the room but when we were checking out, they simply told us not to worry about it! We were very touched by their kindness. I am sure this is NOT a service provided by the B&B. Perhaps we were there at the right time, perhaps they had some down time or perhaps they wanted to visit Alberobello. The thing is, they didn't have to take us, but they did. They could have charged us, but they didn't. (I wasn't sure at first if I should write about this because I worry that Annamaria & Mimmo might end up dealing with unrealistic expectations from guests, but I want people to know how friendly and gracious they are.)
After we checked out, Mimmo drove us to the bus stop for Napoli which was some distance away and, as we had some waiting time, offered to buy us gelato! We were really overwhelmed by their hospitality. Besides the beauty of Matera, they are what i remember most about the city.
I absolutely recommend Fra I Sassi for those visiting Matera. The location is accessible, the service is excellent, the rooms are charming, comfortable and clean, the view is great. We know that some guests stayed in touch with the couple long after they left, which is a testament to the wonderful experience offered by the B&B. It really is more than just a B&B.
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