The dawn of a new age for Matera, Italy
22nd February 2018 by Jamie Fisher
Go Everywhere - Matera, Basilicata, Italy
Best Time to Visit: Early & Late Summer
Elevation: 401m (1,316 ft)
Climate: Cold & Wet in Winter, Hot & Dry in Summer (with occasional summer storms in peak season)
Coordinates: 40°40’N 16°36’E
A spiritual awakening awaits in the city of Matera for anyone who ventures beyond the jaw-dropping peaks of the Parco Nazionale dell’Alta Murgia. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, the Sassi di Matera (its cultural heart) was once considered the shame of Italy. Home to squatters and inhabitants who were fast destroying its ancient beauty, Matera was evacuated in 1952 and became, in effect, a ghost town until its revitalisation and restoration at the turn of the 21st century.
At the forefront of Matera’s unique beauty are the dwellings and buildings carved into the rock of the Sassi area, many of which started life as natural caves that were adapted to become homes, religious sites and businesses from the third century onwards (although its neolithic origins go way back before this time). Wandering the streets conjures images of biblical and nativity-esque scenes as well as impressive settings for roman centurions, remaining very much as-it-was at the time of the ancient roman empire.
Where to visit?
For those seeking adventure and adrenaline, the surrounding national park plays host to a number of cave systems and the rock-hewn Rupestrian churches – a series of stunning religious cave buildings within the national park. A combination of easy-going and advanced level treks and trails criss-cross the region.
Where to stay?
If you’re heading to Matera, it’s practically compulsory to stay in the Sassi; and cave dwelling has never been more luxurious. We stayed at the Sextantio le Grotte della Civita, one of the original restorations to grace the city. A stunning luxury hotel in which the rooms and communal spaces are crafted into the existing spaces of the Sassi. Freestanding bathtubs and candlelit rooms are paired with breakfast within an ancient rock-hewn church, complete with altar.
Dress for dry heat in summer, with some humidity – but be prepared for those occasional summer storms.
For Him - Expedition Chill Long Sleeve Shirt
Expedition Chill L/S Shirt
Featuring TempraTech thermoregulation fabric technology to regulate your body temperature and moisture-wicking properties to keep you comfortable in heat and humidity.
For Her - Noe Twist Print Short Sleeve
Noe Twist Print S/S Top
Naturally soft and moisture-wicking Modal fabric keeps you comfortable in varying climates - it's wrinkle resistant too, which is great for packing.
For Him - Traveler Zip n Go Pant
Traveller Zip N Go Pant
The versatile Traveler Zip n Go Pant can be a short on hot, dry days or a trouser on cool days and evenings. The fabric is conveniently water repellent but also UPF rated for hot mountain climates, such as in Matera.
For Her - Discovery Skort in Tradewinds
Discovery III Skort
Durable, lightweight and quick-drying - this skort is made for warm weather treks and exploration.