Blogs from Matera, Basilicata, Italy, Europe


Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera June 6th 2017

Today is our last day in Matera. Our stay here has been everything we would have wanted. Our apartment is wonderful. When traveling through cities in Europe have you ever wondered what is behind that locked door in an apartment building. The exterior of our apartment looks like any other. Sometimes in need of fresh paint, shutters always closed to protect the inhabitants from the heat of the day or security, footpaths and roads in need of a fresh layer of tar seal. Behind our new door is a wonderful example of what can be done after a visit to Ikea. Our pensioner holiday pad is perfect for our needs. A great place to return to each night. The plan today is to retrace our steps to the Duomo and start our walking tour through the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera June 5th 2017

We have decided to make an early start today. We want to beat the heat and the crowds. We have plotted an itinerary that will take us through the Barisano district of the old town, an area that was developed by the more affluent residents of Matera. We are set up for the rigors of the terrain. There will be plenty of cobbles, steps, steep climbs and heat. Fitted out with good walking shoes, sun glasses, lashings of sun screen, our Italian sun hats, we look every part the Kiwi tourist. We take a short cut from our apartment to the first stop of the day, Convent of St. Agostino. Men are delivering flowers for what must be a wedding. The view of the town from here is quite special. The sun casts shadows from the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera June 4th 2017

What a feeling it is to wake up in Matera and know you have the time to explore this UNESCO Heritage city at leisure. We are here for four nights. Time to relax, explore and experience this city. But first the washing. Up stairs we have a fancy new electronic washing machine. We flick through the controls and discover a twenty minute wash that suits our needs. We press some more buttons, head back downstairs, start breakfast, and before long we hear the beeping sound telling us the first load is finished. In goes the next load. The conditions for clothes drying are brilliant. Soon we have the second load ready for hanging out and some of the first load is ready to bring in. Our roof top clothes line is brilliant. With the chores done ... read more

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera October 31st 2016

Day 272 Sunday 16th October 2016 – Naples to Matera If this hotel had a dog house that’s where I would be because I snored all night which was really annoying because Shelley kept punching me to wake me and the girl has a mean left hook. Woke feeling tired and bruised and just wished she would just get used to the sweet night noises I make or otherwise leave me alone so at least one of us can get a good night’s sleep. Luigi the hotel owner once again served up great Italian coffee, cut fruit and homemade cakes while sitting on the terrace. It is hard to express how much we love Naples and this hotel, sitting here with a coffee in hand directly behind a HUGE cathedral with Sunday bells ringing ... read more

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera October 13th 2016

Dianne had planned this trip meticulously and the last stop was Matera. I had limited knowledge of what went on there. I heard something about the sassi (plural of sasso) being a bunch of caves where people had lived even into the 1960s. But I wasn’t prepared for what we saw. I can’t begin to describe how this ancient town developed. In an article in The New Yorker in 2015, D.T. Max gives a pretty good description of Matera di Sassi. Click here to learn the city’s history. Coincidently, he stayed in the same B&B we did. The city is gradually being gentrified and in another generation the original residents won’t recognise it. Our B&B on Via Fiorentini between Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso is pretty upscale. We discovered one similarity to an old cave dwelling: ... read more
Same view at night
Our B&B
Our place from the street

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera September 29th 2016

I was beyond excited to be able to go south for my last ACLE camp. For three months, I’d been all around northern Italy. Most Italians recognize northern and southern Italy as almost two different countries. Two weeks wasn’t a lot, but I got a taste of some of the differences. My very first night in Matera, my family and another tutor’s family (whose mothers are sisters) took us to a family member’s birthday party. It reminded me of an outdoor summer party in southwestern PA. A big, loud family grilling on a farm! It was a fun evening where I learned how to make/eat bruschetta (yum!). My nuclear host family was with a 13-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, who generally looked/acted as if they were 3-5 years older. Both spoke some English, but I ... read more
Sassi, Matera, Basilicata
Madonna de Idris Church (Above)
Caves of Murgia

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera January 21st 2016

Today was spent walking around this amazing city which has been built progressively over the years from humble cave dwellings in Neolithic times to fortification during the roman era and development since into two separate cities or "sassies" - both constructed with stone. Sassi caveoso consists of dwellings carved out of the mountains and extended beyond the walls, whereas Sassi barisano is mainly external from the mountains with elaborate free standing and multi levelled dwellings. As in most of these old Italian cities there is also a new section that completely lacks the charm of the old. During our walks today we discovered some abandoned cave dwellings and a heritage listed rain water collection, filtering, storage and distribution system second to none, that lies underneath the city. Most importantly today we found two glasses of prosseco, ... read more
Underground caverns
Multi layered

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera January 20th 2016

We leave Campania for the realms of Basilicata resplendent with ancient 'sassi' cities (meaning stone) located on hill tops in the mountains. This was our first snow experience and the air is certainly crisp! Thank heavens for thermals!... read more
The old city
Old city
Modern art

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera May 5th 2015

We felt rather sad leaving our haven of peace and tranquillity that was Paestum. We never got round to visiting their restaurant as it only opened at lunchtime but we did buy bread from their excellent farm shop. This was a buffalo farm and they made their own mozzarella cheese although we never saw the buffalo. Our destination today across Italy in an eastwards direction into the mountains. The scenery changed as the hills lent them selves to more of an Alpine feel. We are on a path neither of us have trod before. Grass as far as the eye can see and trees with little agriculture and very few animals. The road was in a poor state of repair and we were worried at one point we might get stuck. The sign warned that the ... read more
Church in the sassi
Troglodite dwellings
Matera square

Europe » Italy » Basilicata » Matera August 10th 2014

Matera is an ancient city in southern Italy , province of Basilicata. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to wander around the city due to a sun stroke, so I spent several hours at the local hospital and headed to Caserta after. Caserta reminded me a lot of Petergoff in Saint Petersburg. The grand park with stunning fountains,sculptures, and waterfall is the largest in Italy! ... read more

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