Three Good Reasons to Visit Matera
Famous for its ancient caves known as Sassi and stunning landscapes, Matera is my hometown in Italy. I never get tired of telling people how great Matera is so I’ve put together a list of just some of the reasons you should check out my city the next time you fly to Bari airport…
I’m not the only one who thinks Matera is beautiful. Mel Gibson chose the town as the setting for his 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ and most recently, the city was named the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Aside from Petra in Jordan, Matera is the oldest continuously-inhabited settlement in history. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, look no further than Sextantio, a hotel that was restored from old, abandoned caves.
Apart from its unusual setting, one of the best things about Matera is its amazing food. We’re famous for our homemade breads and pastas, savoury “taralli” (cracker-type snacks), freshly made mozzarella, focaccia bread, ripe cheeses and cured meats as well as fried panzerotti made with mozzarella, tomato and basil filling, plus my favourite – the sweet ones filled with dried figs and almonds, lemon zest or chocolate chips. If you’re eating out while in Matera, these are some good restaurants I’d recommend: Baccanti, L’Arco and Enogastronomia L’Arturo. Afterwards, you can continue the party until late at Area8, La Focagna or La 19sima buca.
In my opinion, the best time of year to visit is in August when lots of interesting events take place. See the surrounding countryside, rent a car and stop off at the small towns all around Matera, including Miglionico, where I was born. Every year, locals perform a medieval re-enactment, “La congiura dei Baroni” and there’s a music festival called “Frequenze Mediterranee” where artists from all over Italy play in a contest inside the courtyard of the medieval castle.
How to get to Matera: The easiest way to reach Matera is to fly to Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport, around 60 km away. The airport is served by a private railway line connecting Bari with Matera, as well as a bus service from Bari Airport to Matera, running several times a day.
Rino is a member of cabin crew at Ryanair’s Madrid base