One-day itinerary from the Itria Valley to Matera

Here is a one-day itinerary that will lead you from the Itria Valley to Matera. Just one day to travel kilometers of wonders that will leave you speechless!

In case you wish to visit Matera, a highly recommended city, due to the beauty of the place and its position, is the characteristic Alberobello. A good idea would be to stay in a trullo, which is a traditional conical stone construction from Puglia.

It is recommended to book a guided tour in order to enjoy this region, accompanied by the explanations of a guide. Among the cities of the Itria Valley, besides Alberobello, there are Locorotondo, Cisternino, Martina Franca and many others, while the city par excellence of Basilicata is Matera, famous for its stones and recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 1993.

What to see in Matera

Matera ©blueajayphoto via Canva

Visiting Matera walking through its alleys and narrow streets is like taking a dive into the past. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, also known as the “City of Stones” or “Underground City”.

Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano are two neighborhoods which, together with the Civita district, make up the historic center of Matera. The first recalls the shape of the auditorium of a theatre, while the second contains sculpted portals and friezes.

Walking among the Sassi of Matera, you will come across what are considered symbols of the city, such as Casa Grotta in Vico Solitario. It is an ancient house consisting of a single room partly sculpted and partly built. Inside, motionless like a snapshot that extends over time, there is a fireplace with the kitchen, a table in the center with a single plate, a bed made up of two iron trestles, the bed made up of a mattress filled with leaves of corn and a stable with a manger which was intended for the family’s mule.

Another recommended destination in the city of the Sassi is Palombaro Lungo, an underground water cistern that arises from the connection of several pre-existing caves in the area and located under the pavement of Piazza Vittorio Veneto.

In Piazzetta Pascoli you will find Palazzo Lanfranchi, an architectural work that was built between 1668 and 1672 by Brother Francesco da Copertino at the request of Archbishop Vincenzo Lanfranchi. Today it is home to the national museum of medieval and modern art of Basilicata, divided into four sections: Sacred Art, Collectibles with a gallery of paintings, Contemporary Art and Demo-ethno-anthropological Section.

Among the churches in the city to visit are the Church of Purgatory and the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi, the first is a work created in baroque style built between 1725 and 1747 while the second, also designed in baroque style, is characterized by a nave with a quadrangular apse at the end, introduced by a pointed arch and covered with a cross vault.

Another symbol of the city is the Tramontano Castle, which dominates the historic center of Matera and is located on the Lapillo hill. The imposing building was born as a Norman residence located on the outskirts of Civita and initially consisted of eight square towers with defensive purposes and subsequently replaced by structures more suited to the times and commissioned by Giovanni Antonio Ursino, master of the Principality of Taranto.

An attraction that should not be overlooked is the Murgia Materana Park, also known as the historical-natural archaeological park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera. It is a protected natural area which aims to safeguard and enhance the rock habitat and the rock churches located in the Matera area.

Another protected area is the San Giuliano Regional Reserve, characterized by a rich flora and fauna which also includes river sections and lake areas.

What to see around Matera

Gravina in Puglia
Gravina in Puglia ©stevanZZ via Canva

In short, the Matera area is waiting to be discovered in every alley and in every landscape it offers to its inhabitants and tourists.

Optional destination of your itinerary is Gravina in Puglia, metropolitan city of Bari, known for the Alta Murgia national park. In this city you will find numerous churches including the Cathedral Basilica of S. Maria Assunta which is the cathedral and the main church of the city and palaces such as Palazzo Ducale degli Orsini and Palazzo de Gemmis-Pellicciari.

Among the civil architecture, there is the Swabian Castle commissioned by Frederick II and built on the top of a hill north of the citadel.

Furthermore, Gravina in Puglia has been the backdrop for numerous films and television series important for Italian cinema.

These are our recommendations for a one-day itinerary that starting from the Itria Valley will lead you to the beautiful city of Matera. A tour of history, art and, if desired, culinary tradition that will make you fully experience the flavors and wonders of these territories.

Spiagge di Porto Cesareo ©
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