The first approach to the Sassi, the historic districts of Matera, is surprising, it is something that goes beyond expectations, because no description gives justice to the vast scenery that hosts the Sassi, to the gorges that furrow the Murgia landscape, so rich in ancestral history, which still permeates from every grain of mother rock. Visiting Matera is in any case an experience that touches the soul!

After the first stun it is important to understand how to best visit this amazing city. Let’s start by saying that the city is bigger than expected. Not everyone knows that Matera is not just the Sassi; surprisingly we find a large lively and vibrant historic center that overlooks the Sassi area, with Romanesque and Baroque churches, full of pedestrian areas where the people of Matera invariably stroll, living it as if this were the living room of their own house!

Guided Tours Matera

First of all, you will need to provide yourself with a well-detailed map of Matera (stop by our office to receive one), so let’s try to understand what to do in Matera based on the time you have.

Regardless of the length of your stay, but even more if you are just passing through, it is worth taking part in an introductory guided tour of the city, considering how complex the urban architecture of the Sassi is.

There are many aspects that emerge from the guided tour, which lead to unexpected and surprising considerations. Anyone who thinks to do it totally independently doesn’t know what they’re missing!

Evaluating the evolutionary aspects of the Sassi is a fascinating and stimulating activity that can only be fruitful with the help of expert connoisseurs. Also for this reason, do not rely on the first one you find, but make your choice carefully.


Apart from the guided tour which cannot include every single attraction that the city has to offer, once you have acquired the basic information that will help you better understand what you can see of Matera, there are numerous sites that you can visit independently once you got new eyes, after the explanations received.

Guided Tours Matera
Guided Tours Matera

For a stay of at least two days:

In the morning

If you arrive in the morning, as has been said, it is advisable to immediately take a guided tour of at least a couple of hours (there are also more in-depth ones). Obviously these are also available in the afternoon, in case you arrive in Matera after lunch.

At lunch

You could opt for something less demanding, to reserve yourself having a traditional meal for dinner, in order to make better use of the daylight hours.

In the city there is no shortage of cafes (both in the Sassi and on the plain) where you can taste a selection of typical products presented with easy plating (bruschetta, cutting boards, etc.).

The afternoon

if you have already visited Matera in the morning with a tour guide, you can dedicate yourself to deepening the visit independently.

Among the main sites to visit in Matera there are:

The Rupestrian Churches which are entirely carved into the rock. There are several dozen between the Sassi and the Murgia park. The best preserved ones are those of the urban circuit including, not to be missed, “Santa Lucia alle Malve”, “Madonna de Idris” “San Nicola dei Greci/Madonna delle Virtù”;

  • The Palombaro Lungo, due to the suggestion it causes, is certainly the most evocative of the ancient water collection systems. I would say that when you enter it, you have the idea of ​​being in an ancient cathedral of water. As an alternative to this, or in addition, it is possible to visit the Palombaro del Purgatorio Vecchio.
  • Casa Cava. It is an ancient well quarry, therefore underground, whose only entrance was originally the trapdoor located on the ceiling. Nowadays it has been converted into an auditorium where musical and cultural events are often organised.
  • Casa Noha. FAI site where it is possible to view some films on the history of Matera, with particular reference to the dynamics of the 50s when the Sassi were evacuated.
  • Casa Grotta. There are several of these. These are ethnographic reconstructions of peasant houses in the Sassi, as they were until they were regularly inhabited until the 1960s.
  • Matera museums. For lovers of artistic heritage we have three museum sites of considerable interest: the MUSMA museum of contemporary sculpture (one of the most important museums of the south second only to the MADRE in Naples); the Domenico Ridola National Archaeological Museum (which houses a vast section dedicated to the vascular production of Magna Graecia, where it is possible to admire the numerous red and black figure vases); the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata, Palazzo Lanfranchi, inside which you will also find a permanent section dedicated to the works created by Carlo Levi.


At dinner

Do not miss to try one of the typical restaurants of the city. Generally you eat well almost everywhere and it is difficult to get ripped off. Get advice if you want from the guide, but be wary of any tourist promoters who will offer you, without your asking, restaurants and trattorias.

I recommend you to taste the appetizers. Generally several dishes are served, so it is not the typical Italian appetizer of cold cuts and cheeses, but many individual courses with tastings of various local products (not to be missed!). To be combined with a first or second course

The evening

If there are events, all the better, otherwise you can simply stroll along the Corso (you’ll be amazed to see how many people go out for a walk in the evening) perhaps stopping for a drink in the bars you find in the historic centre.

The next day

To continue seeing the wonders of the area, you can be accompanied on the Murgia of Matera. The viewpoint of Murgia timone (on the other side of the Gravina canyon) offers a breathtaking view of the Sassi that are opposite. Here you can walk in the Murgia park and if accompanied you can enter further rock churches. This of Murgia Timone is an area that can be easily reached even on your own, however even here it is strongly recommended to take a guide, especially if you want to follow the most suggestive paths or if you intend to see rural rock structures (monastic or pastoral) which are hidden in the areas more wooded than the ravine (consider that there are about 150 rock churches and that there are some very suggestive ones hidden in the meanders of the ravine). this is an experience not to be underestimated, especially for nature lovers, and can be performed with different levels of difficulty. Matera Tour Guide offers three. Visit the trekking section on the itineraries page.

For any information or reservation, do not hesitate to contact us.

We will be happy to put our professionalism at your service.