All about Matera, Italy

All about Matera, Italy

I had honestly never even heard of Matera until the year I chose to go. When I started looking into it, I found out that Matera is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in Italy with 10,000 years of history. It may look familiar because 'James Bond' was filmed there and so was 'Passion of the Christ'.

Best time of year to visit?

I would definitely say go outside of the summer months. We went in July and it was like an oven. 

How to get there?

By plane:
The closest airport to Matera is Bari International Airport. It's about a 1 hour drive from there!

By car:
We were visiting Positano beforehand and when I was doing my research, I couldn’t find an easy way to get there by public transport (and if you’ve been, you know that the taxis are ridiculously priced). It was cheaper for us to hire a car and drive there ourselves. Be warned, if you are choosing to drive in Positano, be extremely careful. I have never experienced such dangerous drivers, road rage, tiny roads, and seen more accidents in the space of a few days in my entire life.

Matera is about a 4.5 hour drive from Positano. Once you leave Positano the roads become much easier and it’s pretty much a straight drive the entire way through beautiful Italian countryside. 

Is there parking?

Most of the accommodation is in the Sassi area (this is where you will want to stay), however only annual residents' cars are allowed in here from 7.30am-10am and not a minute later as there are cameras and you will get a fine. Because of this, your best option is to park outside of the main area and walk your suitcase in. 

There is parking for 10 euros per day on a nearby street called Via Vena, otherwise there is free parking on Via Lanera and Via Castello. If you are unable to find a park, there is also paid blue striped parking which is 1 euro per hour from 8am-8.30pm with free overnight parking. 

We got free parking on Via Castello and it was about a 10 minute walk into town with our suitcases. This was a little difficult as the roads are cobbled and there is lots of stairs! 

Where did I stay?

The most asked question I get is which Airbnb we stayed at. I found this Airbnb through hours of searching and it had a lot of availability, however I could tell by the photos that I had a really nice terrace with an amazing view. I was blown away when we got there at how beautiful the view actually was, however not pictured in my videos is the tour groups that would gather right below us every day and take pictures in front of our door lol.

This is our airbnb link, and this is what it looks like in real life.

Be mindful that when we went it did not have Aircon or Wi-Fi. I didn’t think this would be a problem when I was booking it because I just said I would open the door, however I truly underestimated how hot it would be. We could not leave our room unless it was first thing in the morning or after the sun went down because it was absolutely painful (and that’s saying a lot from someone who lives in Australia where it is consistently 40° in summer every day, it felt hotter than that). 

I didn't really look into other accommodation because I was so set on this airbnb, however I did some research and here are some alternatives:

What is there to do?

If I'm being honest, there isn't THAT much to do there apart from take in the beautiful views. Would I say it is still worth going to? 100%

  • Take a guided tour around the city learning about the history
  • Eat at the beautiful cafes and restaurants 
  • Wander around, there is so many little streets and hidden view points
  • Take photos! This city is a photographer's dream
  • Visit the old caves

Overall, Matera was absolutely beautiful. It really was a city that looks stuck in time. I honestly think three days here is enough! My biggest tip is get up for sunrise because it looks absolutely stunning over the whitewashed buildings.

Back to blog