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Matera

UNESCO Sites

Our most recommended Matera UNESCO Sites

Matera: Guided Tour of Sassi di Matera

1. Matera: Guided Tour of Sassi di Matera

Embark on a day out in Sassi and explore the ancient neighbourhoods with a live guide. See a series of grottoes carved out of limestone and marvel at the Sasso Barisano and the Sasso Caveoso. Your tour will begin at the meeting point in Via Alessandro Volta. From here, your expert guide will lead you to the Church of San Francesco, situated in the historic centre of the city. Next, you’ll continue along a panoramic road comprised of narrow streets and winding alleys. After arriving at the Rupestre Church of Sant'Antonio Abate, you’ll find a pleasant surprise waiting inside: a classic example of the traditional culture of this remarkable city. Afterwards, you’ll move on to visit a typical Matera cave-house before continuing along Via Madonna delle Virtù and Porta Pistoia "Pert P’stèl" to conclude your cultural adventure.

Matera: Guided Walking Tour

2. Matera: Guided Walking Tour

You will meet a local tour guide in the main square, Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where you'll begin your walking tour admiring the landscape of the historic center from unique viewpoints. Then the tour will lead you through the historic center, covering topics of Matera history on the way. Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has been chosen as the 2019 European Capital of Culture, an important acknowledgment for its history and beauty which has been carved in stone. Walking among the "Sassi" (the ancient neighborhoods of Sasso Barisano e Sasso Caveoso), you will discover the cave houses and churches carved in the rock, as well as the newly restored Cathedral. From the Cathedral which is built in a high point of the hill, you will enjoy enchanting views over the historic center and of Murgia Materana Park, an area characterized by hills and Mediterranean vegetation. Over the course of 2 hours, you will be completely immersed in a magical unique land, seeing all of the major sights of Matera.

Walking Tour of Matera at Sunset

3. Walking Tour of Matera at Sunset

Begin your journey at Matera’s main square, the Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where you will meet the tour guide who will take you on a walking tour of the city of the "Sassi", a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the European Capital of Culture 2019. From 6 PM explore Matera as the sun sets and the city’s lights flicker on, illuminating the human dwellings that have existed in the Sassi di Matera since the Paleolithic period. Explore the ancient districts of Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso where houses and churches were dug into the rock. Take an optional guided visit of a cave-dwelling before heading to one of the highest points of the city, where you can visit a Rupestrian church and hear more about the history of Matera from your guide. The historic center of Matera also allows you to look out from the many balconies to view the Sassi and the Murgia National Park below.

Matera: Sassi di Matera Guided Tour

4. Matera: Sassi di Matera Guided Tour

Meet your guide at Piazza Vittorio Veneto in Matera. From here, your expert guide will introduce you to the districts of Sassi. From the square, head to the heart of the historical center, where you will find the wonderful Apulian-Romanesque Church of San Giovanni Battista. Continue with a visit to Casa Cava, a hypogeum used in ancient times as a quarry, today turned into a convention center, thanks to outstanding restoration work. Stop at Sasso Barisano, to visit the rock church of Sant'Antonio Abate where you’ll find a pleasant surprise waiting inside, a classic example of the traditional culture of this remarkable city.  Move on to Sasso Caveoso to visit a typical Matera cave-house before continuing along Via Madonna delle Virtù and Porta Pistoia. Make a short stop at Piazza San Pietro Caveoso and stroll down one of the main streets of Sassi, Via Bruno Buozzi, to reach the second rock church of Madonna delle Grazie. Continue to the Baroque Church of Purgatorio. Next stop will be Piazza San Francesco d’ Assisi where you will visit the church dedicated to the Saint and from there you will move to Piazza del Sedile, Parliament's headquarters during the domination of the Kingdom of Naples. Finish your tour with a visit to the magnificent Apulian-Romanesque Cathedral, overlooking the highest part of the city.

Sassi di Matera Walking Tour

5. Sassi di Matera Walking Tour

This exciting tour begins at the Piazzetta Pascoli with a breathtaking view over the stunning Sassi di Matera and highland plateau of the Murgia. From here, you can see the Palazzo Lanfranchi, home to the Museum of Modern and Medieval Art of Basilicata, and the nearby Church of the Carmine. Continue the tour through the heart of the ancient dwellings of Sassi, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, partly built and partly carved out of the rock themselves and furnished as it used to be during the peasant civilization. Visit the church of Saint Lucy of the Malve and admire some striking frescoes and elaborate architecture before continuing the tour towards the ancient Gravina to the museum of farm history, with typical peasant dwellings, as well as artifacts and tools from the ancient peasant life. You'll also get to visit a typical cave house from around 1900, and pass the cave church of Saint Lucia delle Malve. Before the day's end, return to the center of town for a stroll around the town's Baroque area and admire some stunning churches of this style, including Saint Clare and Saint Francis of Assisi. End the fascinating tour at a look-out point over the Sasso Barisano in front of the beautiful Romanesque Cathedral.

Matera: Private Walking Tour

6. Matera: Private Walking Tour

Discover the story of a town which was carved into rocks and was inhabited until the 20th century. You will have the opportunity to visit a cave-house recently opened to the public, and will also have access to ancient rupestrian churches. Matera is a unique place, and makes for a great experience to experience. You will meet the local and expert tourist guide in the city center where the tour will start to discover this UNESCO site. From there, you will walk through the 2 main districts dug into the rocks, an area where you will discover cave-houses and rupestrian churches. During this tour, you can admire the panoramic view over the Murgia Materana Park from the balconies whilst you discover the Matera origins, one of the oldest European cities. Afterwards, you will reach one of the highest points of the Sassi where you will visit the cathedral.

Matera: 2-Hour Walking Tour

7. Matera: 2-Hour Walking Tour

Meet your expert tour guide in the Piazzetta Pascoli and enjoy fantastic views of Matera, the ancient city overlooked by the cathedral's bell-tower and the Sasso Caveoso. Marvel at this remarkable spectacle of urban development frequently utilized by great directors such as Pasolini and Mel Gibson. View the Palazzo Lanfranchi, which houses the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata, and the other buildings of the Baroque District. Then go into the heart of the Sasso Caveoso and view the unique and beautiful cave buildings which have been inhabited since Palaeolithic times. Visit the church of San Pietro Caveoso whose Baroque facade belies a much older history. To really connect with the regions ancient inhabitants, enjoy the unique experience of a visit to a furnished cave-house decorated according to ancient traditions. Be enchanted by the splendid frescoes of one of the most interesting cave-churches in the whole area, the Church of St. Lucia alle Malve. After, return to Piazzetta Pascoli.

Matera Tour: Taste and Handicraft

8. Matera Tour: Taste and Handicraft

Visit the Sassi of Matera and taste traditional local products. From here you will continue towards the civita, the oldest part of Matera, where you'll discover the ancient history of the city carved into the rock. Be amazed by the presence of fascinating frescoed rock churches and cave dwellings, where the inhabitants lived until the beginning of the 20th century. Finally you will arrive at the Cathedral Santa Maria della Bruna, built in the Apulian Romanesque style. Stop in a bakery to taste focaccia with tomatoes and in a shop to taste traditional products such as cruschi peppers, cheeses and local ham with bread and extra virgin olive oil, and fried beans and taralli.

Matera Cave Town & Sassi Guided Walking Tour

9. Matera Cave Town & Sassi Guided Walking Tour

Meet your top-rated tourist guide and the rest of the group in Piazzetta Pascoli where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Sassi di Matera. In this square you can also admire Palazzo Lanfranchi, which hosts the Museum of Modern and Medieval Art of Basilicata and the Church of Madonna del Carmine. Start your walking tour along the streets of the ancient city, navigating down stairways and alleys that will bring you to the heart of Sasso Caveoso. Throughout the tour, your knowledgeable tour guide will reveal the secrets of this extraordinary city, awarded the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993 and chosen by Passolini and Mel Gibson as a filming location for their movies. With games and stories along the way, this informative and interactive tour will captivate you and your children.  Visit the Church of San Pietro Caveoso, one of the most characteristic places in Matera, built in 1200 and modified in the 17th-century with the addition of a baroque bell tower. Enter the Rupestrian churches such as the Church of Santa Maria di Idris on the top of a big rock, or the Church of Santa Lucia alle Malve, part of an ancient monastery of Benedictine nuns built in the 8th-century. Here you can admire striking frescoes which are more than 1000 years old and perfectly preserved. After this, visit the Casa Grotta, a typical Matera house dug out of the rock, with a cellar and a stable where people lived side by side with animals like rabbits, chickens, and horses. Finish your tour in the baroque area of the city where you can admire the churches of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Clare. Enjoy the magnificent beauty of Sasso Barisano from the viewpoint in Piazza Vittorio Veneto in front of the wonderful Romanesque Cathedral.

Matera: Walking Guided Tour of Sasso Caveoso

10. Matera: Walking Guided Tour of Sasso Caveoso

Begin in Piazza Pascoli with a picturesque view over the Sasso Caveoso area, the Murgia plateau, and the massive karst fracture called "Gravina di Matera". Get a historic-architectural introduction to the Sassi before entering the Sasso Caveoso area. Visit a traditionally furnished cave-house, proof of how the poor citizens lived until the mid-fifties, before the De Gasperi Restoration act of 1953. Continue with the visit of a Rock-hewn Church completely carved in the rock, that holds precious iconographic traces of the X-XIII centuries Greek-Italian monasticism. Enter the “Bottegaccio”, an artisan workshop of ceramic and paper-mache, where the craftsman will tell you the story of 4 traditional Matera objects. After traveling in time and space, from the Paleolithic to the present day, end the tour with a small tasting of traditional southern food.

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What people are saying about Matera

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 139 reviews

The two cities are worth it, the magnificent and very helpful guides. It was very hot and our guide Gianfranco, I don't remember if it was this name (forgive me) in Matera helped us at all times, and explained everything in great detail. In Alberobello, the driver Francesco guided us and even though I wasn't feeling well, he was great!

Very interesting tour! Despite the extreme heat that day, our German guide was able to offer us a very nice and extremely informative tour. I recommend everyone who wants to come to Matera to do a tour, otherwise some secrets of the city will not be revealed :)

Spectacular guide, with a unique sympathy and clarity. The possibility of hearing the tarantella playing from a local is very nice. So hot but it was absolutely worth it.

Tour molto interessante, la nostra guida (Antonia) era bravissima, esauriente nelle spiegazioni e molto appassionata. Ottimo rapporto qualità - prezzo.

Angela was wonderful. She was loaded with information and was very sweet.