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Sassi di Matera
Sassi di Matera

Sassi di Matera

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Matera, Province of Matera, Italy

The Basics

To fully appreciate the history of the labyrinth of troglodyte dwellings that make up the Sassi di Matera, it’s best to visit as part of a walking tour. Explore on foot with a guide, weaving your way through the narrow alleyways, and checking out highlights like the frescoed cave churches; the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, an 18th-century house museum; and the MUSMA art museum, situated in an atmospheric cave.

Many day trips include a stop at the Sassi di Matera as well as visits to other nearby attractions like Alberobello, Castel del Monte, and Bari.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Sassi di Matera particularly appeal to photographers and archaeology enthusiasts.

  • Due to steep lanes and stairs, much of the Sassi di Matera might be difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.

  • Walking tours include stretches under the strong Mediterranean sun, as well as visits to indoor caves with lower temperatures. Take both a sun hat and a light jacket.

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How to Get There

The Sassi di Matera are located in the southern region of Basilicata, and aren’t well-served by public transit. The most convenient way to get there is to join a guided tour that provides transportation.

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When to Get There

Southern Italy can be very hot in the summer, so if you’re there between June and September, visit the Sassi di Matera in the early morning or late afternoon. These times of day also offer ideal light for photographs.

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Layout of the Historic Sassi di Matera

The Sassi di Matera are divided into two distinct districts: Sasso Caveoso, with older dwellings that give an authentic sense of cave life, and Sasso Barisano, where many of the caves have been repurposed as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has served as a backdrop for a number of films, such as Mel Gibson’sThe Passion of the Christ.

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