Matera attracts thousands of tourists every year. But what do the locals do? Come and experience it like a true Matera resident.
Rock churches, stone labyrinth, art and traditions: Matera, European capital of culture 2019, astonishes visitors. This city is the perfect destination during the year. Ready to discover it like a local?
10. Discover terraces on Sassi di Matera
One of the view on Sassi of Matera
Matera showes off a lot of natural terraces where watching rural landscape making incredible photographes. You have to see the terrace of Piazza Vittorio Veneto (better during evening with enlightened Sassi. Also suggestive the panoramic point of Piazzetta Pascoli and Piazza Duomo.
9. Aperitif in Matera: Via Ridola
La via degli aperitivi a Matera
If you have a desire of aperitif, you have to go in via Ridola. Here you’ll find bar, restaurants, pubs (like "Area 8") crowded in every season (together with those of piazza Sedile). In these streets you’ll find typical Lucanian products but also icecreams and street food.
8. Taste Cruschi Peppers
One of the typical food of Basilicata: crunchy pepper
Red and crunchy: "Cruschi" peppers are a typical food of Matera and Basilicata. They are used in a lot of recipes, from appetizers to first dishes. This kink of pepper is thin and sweet: they are grown in february/march and harvest during august. After harvest, peppers are laied on sheet and then put away from direct light. Then they are fried to make them “cruschi” (crunchy).
7. Christmas time in Matera? Living nativity scene
Matera has been chosen as a location for some of the most known movies about the life of Jesus Christ (like “The Passion” of Mel Gibson); so it’s a perfect place for one of the most suggestive living nativity scene of Italy. This kind of nativity scene is set in Stones (Sassi) near Sasso Barisano and Caveoso. During the Christmas period, you can also find Christmas markets with craftsmanship and typical products.
6. Shopping in Matera? Via del Corso and via Lucania
One of the street of shopping of Matera: via del Corso
It’s always time for shopping, even in holiday and Matera has a lot a clothing, footwear, gift items and furniture stores in Via Lucania. Also Via del Corso, in the historical part of Matera, is rich of franchising, jewelers, shops with typical food and wine products and art shops (near via Ridola).
5. Experience the Madonna della Bruna feast
If you are going to visit Matera in July, you’ll see one of the most beloved traditions of the city: the “Madonna della Bruna” feast. It takes origin in the Medieval period when a farmer, after his work, gave a ride to an unknown young woman who had a message for the bishop. In this message, there was the real identity of the woman (the Virgin) and her request to stay in Matera.
Today, during her feast, the chariot with the statue of Maria Santissima della Bruna runs through the central streets of the city; arrived at the cathedral, it makes three ritual turns and then the statue remains in Cathedral.
Now begins the last part of the journey towards the central piazza Vittorio Veneto, where the chariot will be attacked and destroyed by the crowd (known as “Lo Strazzo”).
4. A trip to San Giuliano Lake
A place of tranquillity: San Giuliano
Maybe not everyone knows that Matera has a natural reserve just a few km from the city. It is San Giuliano's natural reserve: an oasis of community interest and special protection with its lake, flora, and fauna. Here, it is possible to do bird watching and walk in absolute tranquility and peace.
3. The Tibetan bridge
The Tibetan bridge of Matera awaits all trekking lovers but not only: it is in the heart of the Murgia Materana Park. It starts from Porta Pistola, a square in the Sassi where there is access to path 406 which, through the Tibetan bridge, allows you to cross the Gravina stream (which runs alongside the Sassi) and allows hikers to reach the Murgia Timone area. Access is free and it is advisable to avoid the hottest hours with the direct sun of the summer months.
2. The streets of Dalì's sculptures
Walking through the streets of Dalì
Imagine to walk around a city and come across some of the masterpieces of the visionary artist Salvador Dalì. This also happens in Matera: here to welcome visitors in Piazza Veneto there’s "The wading elephant" by master Dalì. And what about the "Dancing Piano" in piazza San Francesco D’Assisi and the famous "Dissolved Clock". Perfect not only to be admired but also immortalized in selfies and social stories.
1. How to get around Matera
One of the pedestrian squares of Matera
If you asked to a Matera’s citizen “What is the best way to visit the city?”, he would have no doubts in answering: "walking!". Especially if we refer to the part between via del Corso, piazza del Sedile from which all stairways and streets that will lead you directly to the Sassi unravel.
It is also interesting to visit the rural part of Matera with an Ape Car, with a driver who will explain the characteristics and history of the town. If, on the other hand, you are far from the historic area of Matera, you can use the “Miccolis” bus line (Sassi line - tourist line).