In the south of Italy, there is an enchanted city that has maintained through the centuries its ancient spirit and has recently been elected the 2019 European Capital of Culture. This city is Matera, located in the heart of Basilicata. Blufashion gives you 10 good reasons why you absolutely have to go.


Officially elected as the European Capital of Culture in 2019, Matera is the first city in the south of Italy to have been included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in the heart of Basilicata, this small city has a great historical and architectural heritage, which is definitely what makes Matera so attractive and charming. Here are 10 good reasons why you should go to Matera as soon as possible.

Get lost in Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano

best things to do and see Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano Places

The first thing you have to do once in Matera is take a walk through Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, the ancient caves situated in the old town. The Sassi originated from a prehistoric settlement and are considered to be some of the first human settlements in Italy.

Discover a typical house dug up in the rock

Best things to do and see Casa Grotta House

While in Matera, don’t miss out on the chance to experience how the ancient inhabitants of the city used to live. Here you can enter a typical house dug in the rock, still furnished with original stuff.

Admire the Cathedral

Best things to do and see Cattedrale

Once in the centre of the ancient Matera, have a look at the fascinating Madonna della Bruna and Sant’Eustachio Cathedrala must see place. This has been the fulcrum of the religious life of the city for centuries.

Taste Cialledda

Best things to do and see Cialledda Food

While in Matera you absolutely have to try a typical dish called “Cialledda”. It’s made with stale bread, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and onion…absolutely delicious!

Palombaro Lungo

Reasons to go to Matera: best things to do and see Palombaro Lungo Cistern

This is the ancient cistern of the city of Matera (dated XIX century) and one of the most impressive and mysterious places you can visit here. To discover more sites in Italy, click here. 

Enjoy Festa della Bruna

best things to do and see Festa della Bruna

Every year, on the 2nd of July, Matera celebrates its Madonna della Bruna (procuress of the city) with a big and characteristic event. The statue of the Virgin is taken around the city on a papier-mâché cart drown by a pair of mules. An impressive and touching celebration.

Sleep in Sassi

things to do and see Sant'Angelo Luxury Hotel

One of the best ways to be completely immersed in the ancient atmosphere of Matera, is to spend a night in one of its Sassi. A beautiful place where to stay is the Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, situated just in the heart of the Sasso Caveoso.

Visit timeless rocky churches

things to do and see Churches

Walking through the Sassi, you will find lots of unique rocky churches where turn back time, enjoying a timeless atmosphere. Get impressed by visiting Monterrone Cliff, the rocky churches of Santa Maria de Idris and San Giovanni in Monterrone.

Eat Capriata

Reasons to go to Matera: best things to do and see Capriata Food

Capriata, one of the most typical dishes of Matera, is what you absolutely have to try while in the city. It’s made with legumes, wheat, spelt, chick peas, potatoes, broad beans, peas, lentils and it’s perfect with a glass of red wine.

Drink a glass of Matera Primitivo

Reasons to go to Matera: best things to do and see Primitivo Wine

Make your stay in Matera even more pleasant by trying a glass of its delicious red wine: Matera Primitivo. A dense and hefty wine, perfect with red meat, cheese and handmade pasta.

Buy a special tuff souvenir

Reasons to go to Matera: best things to do and see Souvenir

And don’t forget to buy a souvenir for your family and friends while in Matera. The city has plenty of shops where to buy tuff miniatures and all sorts of nice gifts made with tuff (the characteristic rock of the city) as not to come back from your trip empty-handed.

Matera is an enchanting city in southern Italy with a fascinating history and architecture. As the 2019 European Capital of Culture, it offers many cultural experiences and sights to take in.

From exploring the ancient cave dwellings of Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, to admiring the cathedral and tasting delicious local cuisine, Matera provides a unique glimpse into Italy’s past.

Whether sleeping in an ancient cave hotel or observing festivities like Festa della Bruna, a visit to Matera is sure to be an unforgettable and magical experience. This ancient city, carved from stone, has maintained its alluring spirit through the centuries and remains a captivating destination for travelers seeking charm and culture.

This story first appeared on Swide by Claudia Baroncelli.

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