I did not know what type of a challenge this will be, but finding the best view in Matera is extremely difficult. Let me explain!
Matera has always been a wish of mine, to visit one day and see if the hype pays off. And let me tell you that the rumors are true. This incredibly beautiful city is not only the third oldest continually inhabited town in the world but it also has an unbelievable history. The entire city is carved into the rock and Matera is formed out of a network of caves in which people lived since the Paleolithic era. The story of Matera was relatively unknown to Italians until the authorities discovered in the 1950s that people live in horrible conditions – most of them were sharing the cave with animals. So, the entire population was relocated and the work in rebuilding Matera has begun. From the shame of the country, Matera became the European Capital of Culture in 2019. Also, you will hear the locals boasting how their city has became a point of attraction for film-makers as many movies were shot here.
My exploration started a bit clumsily by missing the first place I wanted to see, getting lost in the city and somehow managing to get to Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli and I got all hyped up. I have finally understood why everyone talks about Matera. The color of the city, the labyrinth of streets, the ups and downs – they are all inviting you for exploration.
From here I started to wonder in the streets, enjoying every twist and turn, every corner, every step because I finally was seeing what I was heading towards. When I climbed the stairs of Church of Saint Mary of Idris and I was welcomed by a new panorama I realized I had a problem. This city has too many gorgeous panoramas. I know… what a problem. From here, though, I started seeing the ravine filled with paleolithic caves. And yes, usually you can hike the hill and explore the caves. If I understood correctly, when I was there the bridge connecting the town with the ravine had some issues.
From here the only thing left to do is to get lost in the Sassi di Matera and try to understand the development of this city into an UNESCO World Heritage.
However, the best location where you can marvel at Matera in all its glory is at Convent of Saint Agostino. The panorama from this point shows the dramatic city sitting on the edge of a rock. I think that only the view from the ravine could beat this.
After a short gelato-break, I made my way up to Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio which included another round of wondering in the Sassi and getting lost. The best part is that everyone gets lost here – if you end up in a dead corner, just turn around and find a new street.
I really cannot compliment this place enough. It made my heart beat faster every time I saw the skyline of this city.
How to get to Matera: I took the train from Bari. You can check the schedule here. There is a direct train from Bari to Matera – just be sure to sit in the correct car otherwise you will end up someplace else.