Things to do in
Matera

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Our most recommended things to do in Matera

Matera: 2-Hour Guided Tour of Sassi

1. Matera: 2-Hour Guided Tour of Sassi

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 center 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.

Matera: Panoramic Tuk-Tuk Tour

3. Matera: Panoramic Tuk-Tuk Tour

Enter the streets of Matera through this special tour. You'll be guided comfortably through the most beautiful parts of the city, with your local guide explaining the beauties that you will see along the way. You'll first visit the Purgatory Church, which boasts a wonderful Baroque Facade. Following that, you will reach the Romanesque cathedral which sits in the main square of Piazza Vittorio Veneto. After the cathedral, it will be time to begin your descent down to Sassi. Your tour includes stops to some of the most picturesque areas, from where you will be free to take beautiful pictures of both Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso.

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.

From Matera: Murgia Park Rocky Churches Tour

5. From Matera: Murgia Park Rocky Churches Tour

This excursion to the Rocky Churches Park is a beautiful experience. During this tour, you will discover the history of this magical place. On Murgia Timone you will see the first human settlement and traces of an ancient Neolithic village. Moving on, you will see two important rocky churches, as well as the Rocky Crypt of San Falcione and the Rocky Church of Madonna delle Tre Porte, with its Byzantine frescos. You will also head to a scenic point, called Golgota, where Mel Gibson filmed “The Passion of the Christ”. During the excursion, you will enjoy the unique spectacle of the City of Stones as it lights up at sunset.

Walking Tour of Matera at Sunset

6. 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: Private Walking Tour

7. 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.

Sassi di Matera Walking Tour

8. 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: Authentic Cooking Class at a Local's Home

9. Matera: Authentic Cooking Class at a Local's Home

Immerse yourself in a cooking class at a local home and learn the secrets of the most famous regional dishes. Taste the fruit of your labor accompanied by local wines. Let the cook reveal the tricks of the trade, as they teach you to make three authentic local recipes. Have fun putting your cooking skills to the test. Relax as your host will have all the necessary ingredients and utensils ready for you. Finally, taste everything you have prepared accompanied by a selection of local wines. Bring home the experience of home cooking with this unique class.

Matera: Market Tour and Private 3-Recipe Home Cooking Class

10. Matera: Market Tour and Private 3-Recipe Home Cooking Class

Go food shopping like a local, enjoying the distinctive Italian local market and learn how to recognize the best produces from the land. Then, immerse yourself in a cooking class at a local home, learning the secrets of the most famous dishes of regional cuisine and taste the fruits of your labor accompanied by local wines. During the lesson, the cook will reveal the tricks of the trade for three authentic local recipes. Have fun putting your cooking skills to the test. You will have a workstation equipped with utensils and all the ingredients to make the dishes. Then, taste everything you have prepared accompanied by a selection of red and white local wines. Instead of loading your suitcase with souvenirs, take home Italian cooking skills that will stay with you for life.

Frequently asked questions about Matera

Which tours in Matera are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Planning Your Visit

  • How to get around Matera?

    Matera is served by several bus lines but walking around or renting a car may be an easier option than relying on the bus network. Pay attention to where you park, as it is not allowed to drive and park everywhere in Matera.

  • What to eat in Matera?

    Sample some handmade pasta seasoned with chillies from Matera while you're in town. For dessert, try a Matera melon!

Good to know

  • Language
    Italian
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +39
  • Best time to visit
    The best time to visit Matera is in the summer months. You'll find an abundance of sunshine from June to August though May through October are pleasant. Avoid the rain and the cold and come in the summer time. After all it's peak tourist season for a reason!

Other Sightseeing Options in Matera

Want to discover all there is to do in Matera? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Matera

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,543 reviews

La nostra guida Antonia ci ha portato in un fantastico tour di Matera, tra le vie dei sassi (caveoso e barisano), accompagnato da un racconto di storia della città che ci ha incantati, mai annoiati, e ci ha portato indietro nel tempo. Non si può trarre tutta la bellezza di questa città senza conoscerne il passato difficile. Contentissima della nostra scelta, lo rifarei altre mille volte!

I highly recommend visiting Matera with a guide, so as to understand and not just admire this unique city. Giuseppe, born and lived in Matera, made us partakers of life in this place. His explanations were clear, exhaustive and never boring, indeed his spirit and his sympathy also amused the very heterogeneous group that followed him. Thanks for the great experience

The guide was very prepared and clear. He made us enjoy the wonders and history of Matera. I definitely recommend this tour.

La signora Antonia è Stata a dir Poco disponibile e paziente come guida. Bella la visione del cortonetraggio Nella gotta

Very interesting and run by real professionals who have shown a lot of experience and passion