Matera Italy: 7 Must-Know Travel Tips

Table of contents

Related Articles..
Spiagge del Salento Ionico - spiaggia di Punta della Suina - best beaches in Salento

The city of stones, Matera, is one of the most fascinating places in southern Italy and one of the most visited in recent years.

Walking in the alleys, sleeping in a sasso and tasting the delicious local cuisine are just some of the experiences this magical place has to offer. Here are 7 useful tips for your visit to Matera!

Matera Italy: 7 must-know travel tips

In recent years, Matera, known as the City of Stones, has gained fame thanks to Hollywood film productions that have been shot in its historic center and its designation as European Capital of Culture in 2019, such as the James Bond film “No Time to Die”. Every year many tourists flock to visit this unique place and in this article we want to give you some practical tips to plan your experience in Matera Basilicata.

We spent two days in this amazing city and were enchanted by its beauty and extraordinary architecture. Given our limited time, we decided to take a private tour in the late afternoon, which allowed us to thoroughly explore the Sassi and the historical center and enjoy the spectacle of the sunset over the city.

Below is some useful information that we hope will help you during your visit to Matera and also some answers to common questions such as “how to get from Bari to Matera?”, “where to sleep in sassi hotel Matera?” or even “when to go in Matera Italy?”.

How to get from Bari to Matera Basilicata or from other places

Matera is located in Basilicata, near the border with Puglia and near the Murgia Materana National Park.

The most viable options for getting to this city are by car or train.

If you decide to travel to Matera Basilicata by car, you should know that the city is not directly served by a highway. The highways closest to the city are:

  • Highway A16 that connects Naples to Canosa, also called the “Highway of the Two Seas” because it connects the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic Sea; in this case you have to take the exit “Candela” and follow the road SS65 that will take you to the city;
  • Highway A2, which connects Salerno and Reggio Calabria and has a branch that goes as far as Potenza; from here you must follow the SP123 provincial road and then the SS96bis and SS655 state roads;
  • Highway A14 (Highway Adriatica), which follows the entire Adriatic coast from Bologna to Taranto; in this case, exit at Bari and take the SS96 to Altamura and then the SS99 to Matera.


To get to the city by train, the quickest way is to reach a city served by Trenitalia or Italo fast lines and from there take a regional train or bus.

Trenitalia offers routes with Frecciarossa and Frecciargento to Bari and Potenza, from where you can take a regional train to Matera.

Alternatively, the Freccialink train+bus package connects Turin, Milan, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples with Salerno, from where you can take a bus to Matera. The cost starts from 65.90 € for departures from Milan and the total travel time is just under 9 hours.

Italo offers a combined train+bus ticket from the following cities: Turin, Milan, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Florence and Rome. The route consists of an initial train journey to Naples and from there the Italobus to the city. The cost starts from €21.90 from Rome and €36.90 from Turin and allows you to reach Matera quite quickly (just under 9 hours from Milan).

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - dove dormire a Matera nei sassi, entrata a un b&b nei sassi di Materi

Visiting the hidden corners of the historical center

Where to park in Matera

The Sassi area has no parking, so you will have to leave your car outside the historic center.

If the accomodation where you are staying does not have a parking lot for guests, we recommend that you choose one of the parking lots near Matera’s main train station.

In this area there are several white-striped parking lots, most of which are located along the street, such as in Via Pietro Nenni or Via Ugo la Malfa, or in designated areas, such as the one in front of the train station.

If you prefer to leave your car in a guarded and paid parking lot, we recommend you the company Sisas Service, which manages three parking lots in the city, including the one in via Saragat, where we left our car and which is close to the historic center. You can reserve your parking space in advance by e-mail or phone, which you can find on the company’s website.

When to go to Matera

The answer to the question “When to go to Matera Italy?” is not easy, but we can make some considerations.

The busiest times for tourists are the spring months, especially during the holidays.
In months like May and April the temperatures in the city are very pleasant and the days are almost always sunny, so the weather is ideal for visiting the city. The downside of this period is the high presence of tourists and the prices, which are definitely higher than in other periods.

The summer months are also very popular, as many people plan a stop in Matera during a vacation at the seaside in southern Italy. However, there are fewer tourists than in the spring period because the center of the city is a very hot city and the high temperatures discourage visitors.

A great alternative is the fall period, as there are fewer tourists and in any case, the pleasant temperatures mean that summer in the city lasts until October or even November. We visited the city in late September and found warm, sunny days. During this period the prices are definitely lower than in the previous period.

The last option is to take advantage of the winter period, considering that even in cold months like January, the average temperature remains above 10°C.

Therefore, our answer to the question “when to go to Matera?” is in the autumn, when there are fewer tourists, prices are lower and the days are still warm and sunny.

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - passeggiando per i vicoli di Matera - Matera Italy

Visiting the historical center walking through its alleys

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - visita dei sassi di Matera - Matera Italy

Discovering the historical center

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - vista sul centro storico e sui sassi di Matera dall'alto - Matera Italy

View of the Sassi

Sleeping in a Sassi hotel Matera and other options

The city offers a wide range of accommodations, from the most affordable apartments and B&Bs to the luxury hotels in the Sassi.

Accommodations outside the historic center usually offer more affordable rates and are more accessible (the historical center is a series of stairs, ups and downs and may present some difficulties for people with reduced mobility).

Our choice was a B&B located in one of the Sassi, in the heart of the historic center, near Via Bruno Buozzi, which separates the Sassi area from the Gravina stream, an ideal position for visiting the city.

It was a fascinating experience, with a reasonable cost (about €60 per person) and a location that allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of the city.

Therefore, the answer to the question “Is it better to sleep in a Sassi hotel Matera or outside the center?” could be: in one of the sassi in the historic center, as it offers a unique experience and quality facilities at affordable prices.

It is important to note that a common characteristic of accommodation in the Sassi is dampness, due to the architectural structure of the ancient dwellings. However, this is something to be considered in the context of the extraordinary experience offered by a stay in the Sassi.

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - dove dormire a Matera - camera dentro a un sasso di Matera - Matera Italy

Sleeping in a Sassi hotel Matera

How much does it cost to stay in Matera?

The cost of a stay to visit Matera varies greatly depending on the type of accommodation you choose. There are some luxury facilities carved out of the Sassi that can cost several hundred euros per person for a night, but as we have already anticipated, there are some very nice ones that will allow you to save on costs.

As far as food services are concerned, prices are average, so a quick lunch might cost you around ten euros, while a more elaborate dinner might cost between 50 and 100 euros per person.

Add to this the cost of travel and any guided tours you may wish to join. For example, our sunset tour costs €80 for two people.

Where and what to eat in Matera

Matera offers a wide range of dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. From upscale restaurants with scenic terraces to cheaper osterias serving traditional dishes, there is something for everyone.

For lunch, we recommend opting for something quick and light. Many places offer sandwiches or platters of local cold cuts and cheeses at affordable prices. You can enjoy them comfortably at outdoor tables, relaxing after a walk through Matera’s characteristic narrow streets.

For dinner, you can choose between excellent restaurants offering fine dining or osterias serving traditional cuisine. Both options will allow you to taste the authentic flavors of the local tradition.

Whatever you choose, Matera will surprise you with its rich gastronomic offer and the unique atmosphere of its streets and places.


Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - dove e cosa mangiare a Matera - cena con vista sui sassi di Matera di notte - Matera Italy

Dinner with view of the Sassi

Here’s what to eat:

  • Peperoni cruschi: Peppers cruschi are one of the tastiest things we tasted during our visit. They are a special type of peppers that are first dried and then fried, becoming irresistible crunchy delicacies. So many stores sell cruschi peppers that we recommend you buy at least one packet to take home as a souvenir;
  • Fava puree and chicory: Lucanian and Apulian cuisine are intertwined, especially since Matera is practically on the border between the two regions. This dish comes from the poor tradition but is another delicacy of the area. It is a puree of fava beans and sautéed chicory, usually accompanied by toasted bread;
  • Pezzente: pezzente is the sausage that originates from the Montagna Materana, composed of pork and particularly spicy;
  • Calzoni: although not exactly light, calzones make for a quick but very tasty lunch. The filling can be varied, such as pezzente or pork-based, eggs, cheese, ricotta;
  • Crapiata di Matera: crapiata is a very tasty peasant soup made with legumes, wheat, potatoes and tomatoes. It is sometimes made with Sarchioni bean, another specialty of Basilicata.

How to see Matera: Guided Tour or on your own?

The choice of whether to visit Matera on your own or with a guided tour can greatly enrich the overall experience. Both ways offer unique advantages.

Seeing Matera and exploring it independently, walking through the alleys and discovering hidden corners, is an enchanting experience. Especially at night, when the lights of the streets and stones create a magical and evocative atmosphere. This approach allows you to fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city and appreciate its beauty in an intimate and personal way.

On the other hand, an expert guided tour can offer a more in-depth perspective of Matera’s history and traditions. A qualified guide can take you to lesser known but equally evocative historical sites, providing insights and trivia that will enrich your understanding of the city. In addition, a guided tour can include visits to food and wine establishments where you can sample traditional local dishes, providing a complete cultural as well as culinary experience.

We opted for a sunset tour, which allowed us to see Matera and explore the city of stones in an evocative way, ending the visit with a tasting of local specialties. This type of tour can be a great combination of independent exploration and guided in-depth exploration, offering the best of both worlds.

You can find the official website of the tourist agency that we asked for our guided tour at this link.

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - vedere Matera accompagnati da una guida - piazza con vista sui sassi di Matera - Matera Italy

Waiting for our guided tour

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - passeggiata per i vicoli di Matera - Matera Italy

Walking through the alleys of the historical center

Visitare Matera 7 consigli utili - vedere Matera con una visita guidata - vista sui sassi di Matera - Matera Italy

View of the Sassi

With this article we hope to have provided you some useful information about visiting Matera and its incredible Sassi. We will soon write an article dedicated to our guided tour of the city and the most interesting places to visit, so stay connected with us via social channels and as always… trip to try! 

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please SHARE it on your preferred social media platform!



You may also be interested in the following articles...

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments