Overview

Introduction

The neighbouring mountainous region of Basilicata, known as the instep of Italy’s boot, briefly touches the Tyrrhenian Sea. This dramatic coastline is home to the historic town of Maratea which encompasses a pretty harbour; twenty beaches (sand and pebble) and a historic city centre with many churches and a towering 70m high ‘Statua del Redentore’. The region is also home to the ancient city of Matera, known for its surreal ‘Sassi di Matera’ – prehistoric houses dug into the local tufa rock. These natural caves were the first houses of the Neolithic inhabitants of the region, who transformed the natural landscape into new forms of architecture. Often chosen for authenticity as the backdrop to many biblical films, Matera remains one of the most admired cities in Italy – not to be missed.

Highlights

  • UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera.
  • Pollino National Park: Covering 1,960 sq.km across the regions of Basilicata and Calabria, Pollina is Italy’s largest national park. It offers a variety of things including prehistoric cave drawings and burial sites and thermal springs in Latronico
  • Christ the Redeemer: This Rio-esque statue of Jesus Christ, created in Carrara marble in 1965, is perched 70m high on a mountain in Maratea - the tallest in Europe. The location also affords fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Pietrapertosa: This ancient village, situated at the foot of a Castle, is considered one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy along with Acerenza, Castelmezzano and Venosa. It is also home to Europe’s fastest zip line between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. Not for the faint-hearted!
  • Matera: People first settled in Matera in the Palaeolithic period, around 15,000 B.C. making it one of the oldest continuously-inhabited settlements in history. Famed for its historic cave dwellings, the city has many steep steps, rocky outcrops and stone alleyways that could be mistaken for ancient Babylon or biblical Jerusalem and, as such, has been used as a backdrop for films such as Ben Hur (2016), Wonder Woman, Mary Magdalene and many others.
  • Casa Noha, Matera: This is a cave dwelling set up as it once might have been. The visit to Noha's House includes a short documentary which reveals the story of the Sassi and the people of Matera.
  • Maratea: Located on Basilicata’s west coast, the city is accessible by train from Naples for less than 11 Euros one way (c. 3 hour journey) on Italy’s oldest railway line which passes by Vesuvius and occasionally runs beside the Tyrrhenian Sea. From Maratea, it is also possible to take trains or buses between seaside villages.
  • The Tyrrhenian coast: This stretch of coastline stays pleasantly warm until November and has many little bays, with either golden or black volcanic sand, stretching to the Calabrian border. Some popular beaches at Fiumicello near Maratea, d’Illicini and Macarro to the east, and Anginarra to the west.

 

 

Transport

Airports

There are no tourist airports in Basilicata, and the most convenient Italian airport will depend on which part of the region you are visiting. Bari Airport in Puglia is a practical destination for visiting Matera. Alternatively, there is Naples airport (Campania) for visiting Maratea.

Trains

Matera is connected by train (Ferrovie Appulo Lucane regional network) to Italy’s other towns via Bari Centrale train station which is connected to the national system. The journey from Bari Centrale takes about 90 minutes, and the price is nominal (something like 2 Euros payable locally). From the train station, it is about a 15-minute walk to the sassi of Matera.

Note: The trains to Matera do not leave from the main part of the Bari Centrale station, but from a smaller station just outside the main one - it is clearly signposted as Ferrovie Appulo Lucane. There is also a bus service from Bari, as well as from other large cities such as Rome and Ancona, to Matera.

 

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Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi
Best time to go
  • JAN
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  • MAR
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  • NOV
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Time Difference

GMT + 1 hour

Currency

Euro

Language

Italian

Average flight times

2 hours 30 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

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Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni

Rosanna is the head of our Discovery Department which covers tailor made holidays to Portugal and the Azores, Italy and Sicily, Scandinavia and the new programme to Spain. She is our longest serving member of staff having joined in 1994 after completing an honours degree in French and Italian and subsequently working for a tour operator in Yorkshire. She is responsible for brochure writing, contracting accommodation, programme costing, computer inputting and generally troubleshoots where necessary. She has global knowledge of our tailor made programme.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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