Matera European Capital of Culture 2019

2019 is Matera's year of European Capital of Culture (matera-basilicata2019.it) and Autumn is among the best months to visit it.

Matera has long been a popular tourist destination, with the number of visitors growing double digit every year. A success that crowns a long project, beginning with the recovery of the famous Sassi: here rock churches shine with their beauty, they wind between ancient dwellings dug in rock-tuff, which now house restaurants, bed & breakfasts, shops.

Already in 1993 the city had gained the title of Unesco site: natural caves and underground constructions, cisterns and churches, terraces and small squares, narrow and winding streets tell the story of a settlement that was first a rocky village, then a Norman stronghold and finally an elegant baroque city. Among the rupestrian churches, San Pietro Caveoso, overlooking the Gravina river, San Nicola dei Greci and the Church of the Madonna delle Virtù, which every year hosts exhibitions by emerging artists.

Don't miss the exciting view of the Sassi from Piazzetta Pascoli, which takes its name from the poet who taught here for two years: from the small panoramic terrace, the spectacle of the stone city opens like a folding fan.

Matera

Where to sleep: Corte San Pietro. A 3-night stay starts from £490 per person including breakfast and private airport transfers

Where to eat: Baccanti (baccantiristorante.it)

Travel's tip: Outside the town, among vineyards, olive groves and fields of wheat overlooking the Gravina, the crypt of the Original Sin is a surprising spectacle: a single grotto entirely frescoed with bright colors and great mastery by the so-called "painter of flowers", anonymous artist. The aesthetic and emotional impact is such that the place of worship is known as the Sistine Chapel of rock art. Make sure you pre-book yoru visit as you can't just turn out at the door (criptadelpeccatooriginale.it)

Hotel Corte San Pietro