As you might imagine, the moment we entered the old city we were stunned by its beauty.
But I just couldn’t be present. I started taking pictures right away. I loved the light, the heavy looking architecture, the tranquil atmosphere.
When we had our sandwich break, we took refugee in the shadow and watched, or better said, stared at the hollow, almost abandoned street in front of us. I felt connected but in a weird way.
This really felt like a 9,000-year trip back in time.
Matera is mystical, unusual and memorable.
It is an ancient cave city in Basilicata, Italy which originates from a prehistoric settlement and it might be one of the first human settlements in Italy. Wikipedia says there is evidence that people were living here as early as the year 7000 BC.
Now, Matera is a blend of new chic boutiques, cafes and restaurants and incredible restored b&bs, beautifully planned to preserve it’s natural look.
Our trip to Matera was very history focused. We didn’t stop at any restaurant but made our own sandwiches in the morning. We would stop only for an espresso or at the supermarket to buy another 2 L water bottle. We visited Matera in June and it wasn’t crowded at all, but the sun was burning.
But if you’re curious to learn a short bit of Matera’s history better head over here.
A taste of Matera
In terms of food, I bought their traditional bread to have the next day for breakfast and a pack of their wheat and ancient legumes (a mix of farro, chickpeas, durum wheat, various beans and lentils) usually used for their Zuppa Crapiata di Matera, a traditional dish people used to prepare at the end of the summer and share between neighbours together with a glass of wine.
If you plan to visit Matera soon, I would recommend to visit in fall, winter or spring. It isn’t a 1 day trip, although you can do that, but a night spent here to catch the sunset and sunrise very early in the morning would be great.