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All reviews old town bucket list cave dwellings european city of culture unique place walk around narrow streets unesco site guided tour mel gibson couple of days every corner beautiful town step back in time sassi history christ
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Reviewed yesterday via mobile

A beautiful town with lots to see. Very picturesque and pretty. Our guide gave us lots of information about Matera.

Thank DanielaD2112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Matera will be European cultural capital in 2019. That is well deserved. The small city is simply stunning. History is all around you. We walked through the two Sassi’s in two days and kept being surprised.
The visit to three grotto churches is certainly worthwhile as they are magical with age old frescoes. We made easily over a hundred (or two) pictures. Let’s hope Matera can survive the tsunami of tourists next year. We were there in mid November which is the lowest of the low season, so it was relatively quiet.
We loved it.

Thank Sjoerd-nl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed yesterday

We liked this place very much. Unfortunately we came there in the second half of the day and have not enough time to see everything.
This place is a mix of old and modern city, hiking tours and cultural immersion.
I would recommend to stay here overnight.

Thank Андрей Р
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 days ago

We had a private guide through Tours by Locals and couldn't have had a better visit. First view of ravine upon arrival is a jaw-dropping sight. Learn about the history of the local people before arrival to better understand and appreciate area. Visit the caves and take a walk through the "current" town.

Thank LJL1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 days ago

Parco della Murgia Materana is located 7km from Matera and you can get there by driving yourself if you have a car, crossing via the swing bridge when it is open, or taking a tour. Unfortunately unless you have a private guide, the only tour offered is an Italian tour commencing at around 3.00pm. It is this late to allow you to view the lights of Matera come on across the Gravina. The best time however, to take photograph of Matera from this point when it is bathed in light, is in the morning. So perhaps if you have your own transport two visits could be warranted.
We joined three other Italian couples on a tour and were driven to the Parco in a minibus. Along the way we could see the old tuffa mines where the tuffa was cut to build the houses. Tuffa dries hard but any damage to its surface starts the disintegration process and that is why so many of the buildings are in a state of decay. Tuffa is virtually compacted sand and this is borne out by the sea shells that can be identified in the walls of buildings.
In November you definitely need a warm jacket as it begins to get cold once the sun begins to set. It is also quite windy on the cliffs. If you have vertigo, this is not the tour for you. Always wear closed, sturdy shoes in this area.
We met the Italian archaeologist at the car park overlooking the Church of San Falcone. This is a locked church and you will not be able to visit without a guide. We did not understand the long and obviously interesting history and archaeology lecture. The church consists of several rooms. From the viewing point it looks like an abandoned dwelling and stables. The church was only discovered when clearing of the park began. By this time, most of the frescoes had been damaged and the tuffa salvaged for other buildings. The churches are very small and generally accommodate no more than 10 people at a squeeze. Outside are the stables and outhouses. Near the gate the guide pointed out shells in the tuffa confirming the area had once been covered by the sea until earthquakes had shifted the sea floor upwards to create the Murgia.
Across in the distance we could see a church which we were told is still used to day particularly on festival days.
A walk along the cliffs can be dangerous in times of high wind or if you suffer from vertigo which one of our party suddenly discovered she had. Luckily the guide was able to contact the minibus driver who returned to pick her up but this delayed our progress along the path with the consequence of being in the dark later on. The area is generally covered with grass scrub and a thorny plant with aromatic leaves. In October/November, delicate crocus appear however, the stampeding tourists trample all over these.
You have a great view of Matera and the path and swing bridge from the other side. The swing bridge has been closed on the Matera side but you can scramble down from the Murgia side and then scramble back up again. Looking at the river below it is hard to understand how such a small piece of water could have carved out the gravina.

The lights coming on over Matera was very special and we could faintly hear the sounds of the town and could see a pilgrim group that had visited the cemetery walking to the Madonna de Idris. By this time ofcourse it became darker and we had to scramble down a narrow stone staircase to another Rock Church - Church of St Agnes. This was in better shape. It was only one room and was locked but the guide had the key. Scrambling back, we were now in darkness, lit only by the lights across the Gravina. We continued past the spot where Mel Gibson filmed the final scene of the Crucifixion.
To the third rock church also only viewed when unlocked. This consisted of three rooms (Madonna of the three doors - 12C) but again the faces of the frescoes had been destroyed and in some cases it was impossible to see what the frescoes depicted.
An expensive but worthwhile tour which would have been better had it been in English.

Thank Rasputin21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 5 days ago

Caves that were occupied for centuries and by the 1950s were known as "the shame of Italy" have been repurposed as hotels, B&Bs, and residences. Impossible not to look at the landscape and not think of what Jerusalem must have looked like 2000 years ago.

Thank William M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago

The old center of Matera is a very popular tourist destination. I think it is well worth a visit. It gives you insight into how people used to live in their cave dwellings. Some of those can be visited, but you have to get a separate ticket for each and every one of them. You can also buy one ticket which gives you admission to 3 cave dwellings and/or churches but you cannot buy one ticket and see them all. Of course they are all similar, so if you see one or two, you are done. A round trip of the old town is about 4 kms, and you cannot get lost. So I would advise to do this walking at your own pace. The town and surroundings are very scenic, so you need a camera and a bottle of water, and good walking shoes. On the way, you can buy food and drinks in all price ranges. However, do expect to pay tourist prices. One word of warning: if you drive there, parking your car can be challenging.

Thank RP-Netherlands
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Visited Matera as part of our Apulia trip this November. Didn’t have high expectations but decided to go for few hours. We were all stunned by the vow to the old stone city. The view from the terrace is just fabulous. I can hardly find the right words to describe it. You must see it. A massive hill with cliffs, stone houses, streets, churches. Simply impressive. It takes about 2-3 hours to walk around. There are few craft stores, restaurants, cafes... all infused in the cliffs. Definitely a must see when nearby.

Thank JBorisova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago

What can one say about this place. The Sassi, is beautiful in appearance, but also appears to be harsh when one reads the history of this wonderful to visit.

It is hard to believe that 60-70 years ago this area was recognised as one of the poorest regions in the world with families living in squalid conditions in the caves as a matter of necessity.

Matera, has been on the bucket list for years. A BIG tick off and well wort a visit.

Plan to stay at least 2 days and wear sturdy shoes.

Thank Fair23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Not one picture can describe the feeling you get when you visit Sassi Di Matera. It's just beautiful to see and a must see. You can easily drive here but make sure you park innthe right bays a blue bay means you must pay which for me was 90 cents for about 4 hours but if you can find a yellow or white bay to park in its free. If you have a mobility issue then I would advice doing your research before traveling as the roads and pathways are extremely uneven given the age of the town and also there are steps every where. Don't forget to pick up your gelato it's a win not to.

Thank jonsE3336BG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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