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Photo of Matera

About Matera

Matera is one of the main attractions in remote and beautiful Basilicata. It’s known for its sassi: ancient neighbourhoods of stone houses carved out of the caves and cliffs, amongst which you can find many of the best places to stay in Matera. These hauntingly ancient buildings look so much like the backdrop to a nativity that Mel Gibson filmed his 'Passion of the Christ' here.

What not to Miss

  • Matera's sassi, which redefine our understanding of 'old' - these communities dug into the mountainside have been continuously inhabited for the last nine thousand years, gradually including all the mod. cons., but still basically residing inside a mountain. Many of the cave dwellings have been abandoned, but just as many have been refurbished and are now comfortable homes, or even hotels.
  • Some of the oldest dwellings here date from the Palaeolithic era - that's 15,000 years ago! and when you add to that the sassi, the beautiful stone churches with their wonderful frescos, and Tramontano Castle, you can see why the whole town has been made a World Heritage site.
  • Don't miss Matera's cathedral - situated on top of the Civitas Hill, it dates back to the 13th Century - and its Rupestrian Churches

Modern Matera sits on the crest of the ravine which the sassi cling to both sides of. It's modern compared to the sassi dwellings, but it's still got an Old Town, which has its own charms, including an elegant pedestrianised centre, around the Piazza Vittorio Veneto. It's also got a lot of life, with plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry.

Matera is a great place to stay because you're right in the midst of the region's best attractions. Try and make time to see inside some of the cave churches and appreciate their ancient art works, and also visit the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, which shows some of the hardship involved with living in the sassi during the 1950s. Conditions were so bad that in 1952 cave dwellers were forced to move out and into new Matera. But these days they're moving back!

Use our guide to the best places to stay in Matera and start planning your visit to this extraordinary town.

For stunning views

  • The Palazzo Gattini is an elegant five star spa hotel with 20 comfortable, contemporary rooms, a rooftop pool and terrace and an excellent restaurant serving local specialities. Historic, chic and romantic.
  • The Locanda di San Martino is a gorgeous hotel with 32 large rooms, with charming original features and beautiful antiques. There’s an indoor pool and excellent spa and Turkish baths. And of course splendid views.

Cave hotels

  • If you want to stay in one of the cave hotels, consider Le Grotte della Civita. Built into the sheer rock face, this cave hotel's 12 rooms and six suites are vaulted caves - so you sleep surrounded by lovely pale sandstone. If it sounds chilly don't worry, there are log fires and generous standalone bathtubs to keep you feeling cosy, and the medieval lair of a kitchen somehow turns out excellent food, so this is also one of the best places to stay in Matera for foodies.

For Great value

  • L'Hotel in Pietra was converted from a 13th Century monastery, but it's simplicity is grand rather than barren, and everything is on a vast scale. Suites and bedrooms are cavernous, with vaulted ceilings and mezzanine levels. And the boutique hotel has stunning views over the town. Rooms start from around £100 per night.

For a self-catering Apartment or private Villa

  • If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Bari International airport is the closest airport to Matera, about 43 miles away - which is about an hour by bus or an hour and a half by train.
  • If you want to hire a car - which we strongly advise if you’re staying in Matera and you want to see more of Basilicata and its beautiful coastline - we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • Timing is important when visiting Matera, some churches and other attractions are only open weekends in winter, and some require advance booking. Some sites are also closed for up to four hours each afternoon. There’s also no public transport on Sundays. Matera is gradually becoming more popular but it is still a relatively quiet destination, so one of the places in Italy you probably can visit in the summer months without feeling swamped by tourists.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Matera for you?

Best Hotels in Matera

  • Le Grotte della Civita 18 rooms from £175


    A cave hotel with medieval romance in a magnificent hilltop setting. Very unusual rooms and suites with vaulted ceilings, sandstone walls, and standalone bathtubs with burning log fires. Delicious food, cooking lessons, and spectacular views. Definite wow factor for honeymooners or romantic breaks.

    Unusual  -  Constructed caves.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Romantic Break
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet
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  • Palazzo Gattini 20 rooms from £140


    Elegant 5* spa hotel. Rooms have contemporary furniture, exposed stone walls, luxurious bathrooms and artworks. Rooftop pool, terrace, extensive spa. Excellent dishes from Basilicata in the restaurant. Historic, chic and romantic.

    Spa breaks  -  Outstanding spa in the ancient cisterns of the palazzo, with extensive range of treatments in relaxing and luxurious hotel
    Sights nearby  -  Santa Maria di Costantinopoli; Cathedral of Matera, Sassi, and San Giovanni Battista Church
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
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  • Locanda di San Martino 32 rooms from £148


    Gorgeous hotel in the city. Rooms are large and decorated with antique furniture, original stone features and modern bathrooms. Indoor pool and excellent spa with Turkish baths. Atmospheric stay with lots of Italian romance and splendid views of the city.

    Local exploring  -  If you can bear to leave the romantic hotel, there are many regional historical delights in Matera and surroundings
    Sights nearby  -  San Giovanni Battista Church, Sassi, and Cathedral of Matera
    Full of character
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  • L'Hotel in Pietra 8 rooms from £101


    A monasterial boutique hotel with enormous rooms in Matera. Cavernous bedrooms and suites with vaulted ceilings, mezzanine levels, and stunning views over the town. Unusual and great value.

    Value chic
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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