Things to do in Matera

About Matera

The Sassi di Matera, ancient cave dwellings-turned-homes, are a must-see. Visitors should not miss the stunning Cathedral of Matera, or the rock-hewn churches dotted around the Parco della Murgia Materana. The Museo Nazionale d'Arte Medievale e Moderna della Basilicata also offers a rich cultural experience.
Kids will be enchanted by the cave exploration in the Sassi di Matera. The Adventure Park Matera offers zip-lining and fun obstacle courses. Visiting the interactive Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario gives children insight into historical living in Matera.
Exploring the Sassi districts and enjoying panoramic views atop the city's many viewpoints should top the list. Hiking or biking in the Murgia Materana Park, or taking a rock church tour, are also popular outdoor activities in Matera.
Indoors, visitors can explore the extensive collections in the Domenico Ridola National Archaeological Museum, admire contemporary art at the MUSMA (Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera), or delve into the city’s history at Casa Noha.
The best Matera tours include guided walks through the Sassi di Matera, specialty food and wine tours that explore local cuisine, and the natural history tours in the Parco della Murgia Materana. Night tours showcasing the city's lights are also highly recommended.
Popular museums include the MUSMA, with its unique sculptures, and the National Archaeological Museum Domenico Ridola, offering insights into the region's prehistoric past. The Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario provides a vivid portrayal of past life in Matera.
On rainy days, the best tours include visiting the numerous rupestrian churches, the atmospheric MUSMA, or the multimedia-rich Casa Noha, which narrates Matera's history through engaging exhibits.
Short but informative walking tours of the Sassi can be completed in under an hour, offering a brief yet comprehensive overview of the area. Additionally, visits to individual museums or designated historic sites, such as specific rock churches, are also ideal for shorter itineraries.

Best Things to Do In Matera

Explore the captivating allure of Matera, a city sculpted from limestone, teeming with historical and cultural treasures.

Matera: Belvedere di Murgia Timone

What is it?
A spectacular viewpoint offering panoramic views over Matera and its storied Sassi.
Why you should go?
For a sweeping gaze across ancient urban landscapes, Belvedere di Murgia Timone stands as one of the most impressive things to do in Matera. The viewpoint showcases the harmony of nature and architecture that defines this ancient city. It is a place of contemplation and wonder, where the full dramatic scope of Matera's beauty can be witnessed, especially at dusk or dawn. Among the Matera activities, this experience is unmatched for photographers and for those seeking a moment of sublime tranquility.

Matera: Chiesa di San Pietro Caveoso

What is it?
An ancient church perched on the dramatic cliffside landscape of Matera’s Sassi.
Why you should go?
("Why you should go?" part that was missing in the user message)
Positioned in the iconic Caveoso district, Chiesa di San Pietro Caveoso is not just a symbol of the deep-rooted spiritual history of Matera, but also an architectural wonder. With its façade overlooking the canyon, visitors who explore this historic church can enjoy stunning views alongside artistic and architectural beauty. It is an essential visit for anyone interested in the way history, faith, and landscape intertwine, making it a celebrated choice for Matera tours.

Matera: Crypt of the Original Sin

What is it?
An ancient, art-filled crypt known as the "Sistine Chapel" of rupestrian art.
Why you should go?
The Crypt of the Original Sin is a hidden jewel among the Matera excursions. This awe-inspiring site, with centuries-old frescoes, embodies the artistic fervor of Matera's religious forebears. These vivid biblical paintings, full of expression and color, are a testament to the refined craftsmanship and deep spiritual life of the region's ancient inhabitants. A tour of the crypt is an unforgettable walk through Matera's religio-artistic history and is dear to every connoisseur of early-Christian art.

Matera: Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario

What is it?
A well-preserved cave house offering insight into traditional life in Matera's Sassi.
Why you should go?
When considering fun things to do in Matera, the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario is a cultural treasure not to be missed. This historic home allows visitors to step back in time and experience the simplicity and ingenuity of life in the ancient Sassi. With its authentic furnishings and everyday household items still in place, tourists are offered a glimpse into the past, revealing the daily struggles and communal spirit of the city’s former cave-dwelling inhabitants.

Matera: La Palomba Sculpture Park

What is it?
An evocative park blending large-scale contemporary sculptures with Matera's rugged environment.
Why you should go?
La Palomba Sculpture Park is an enchanting merger of art and nature, acting as an outdoor gallery amidst Matera's historical context. It represents one of the places to visit in Matera that offers a serene, yet stimulating outing. Visitors can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere while engaging with innovative and thought-provoking artworks by renowned sculptors. The park is a testament to Matera’s dedication to cultural and environmental harmony and is a delightful stop on the best Matera tours itinerary.

Matera: Sassi di Matera

What is it?
A distinctive complex of ancient cave dwellings carved into the limestone.
Why you should go?
Standing as a primary example of things to do in Matera, venturing into the Sassi di Matera offers a profound historical experience. These cave dwellings, established from the Paleolithic era and beyond, reveal Matera's fascinating continuity of human settlement. Visitors marvel at these troglodytic habitats that have been adapted over millennia, displaying a unique living museum of architecture and culture. Engage with the soul of the city by taking Matera tours through the Sassi, ensuring an exploration rich with archaeological and anthropological significance.

Matera: Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna

What is it?
A stunning cathedral dominating Matera's skyline, showcasing Romanesque architectural splendor.
Why you should go?
When looking for what to see in Matera, the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna should not be missed. Perched atop the highest point of the city, it offers breathtaking panoramic views. Inside, visitors are greeted by enchanting frescoes, an ornate rose window, and a beautifully designed altar. This religious edifice is not just a place of worship but a testament to Matera's artistic and cultural history, making it one of the best Matera tours for both history buffs and those seeking spiritual awe.

Matera: Palombaro Lungo

What is it?
An immense underground cistern located beneath Piazza Vittorio Veneto in the heart of Matera.
Why you should go?
For an off-the-beaten-path adventure, the Palombaro Lungo represents one of the most unique Matera activities. Hidden below the city's main square, this ancient water cistern is an engineering masterpiece of the past. Visitors are astonished by its vast scale and the sophisticated water collection system that once served the community. Exploring this subterranean wonder provides insight into Matera's resourcefulness and the innovative spirit of its people throughout history.

Matera: Musma Museum (Museum of Sculpture)

What is it?
An extensive sculpture museum hosted within a series of caves in the Sassi di Matera.
Why you should go?
Art enthusiasts pondering what to do in Matera will find the Musma Museum captivating, as it seamlessly blends contemporary art with ancient cave settings. This distinctive museum showcases sculptures and installations from across Italy and abroad, creating a fascinating dialogue between the art and the rocky backdrop. Engaging with these artworks in such a raw and historic environment is a unique cultural experience that stands out among the things to do in Materar.

Matera: Tramontano Castle

What is it?
Remnants of a 16th-century castle that offers a glimpse into Matera's feudal history.
Why you should go?
Perched on the edge of the city's park, the Tramontano Castle's impressive bastions and towers draw attention to Matera's medieval past. Even though the castle remains unfinished, its majestic structure offers an atmospheric stroll through history. Visitors are able to take in the city from a different vantage point, often included in the best Matera tours for its historical significance and the evocative stories that the ruins tell about power, ambition, and the passage of time.

TOP-5 tours in Matera for first time visitors

  • Embark on a journey through the ancient Sassi districts, delving into the heart of Matera's heritage and exploring cave dwellings that speak volumes of history and human ingenuity.
  • Discover the celebrated rock churches of Matera, where art and spirituality fuse seamlessly, revealing frescoes and sanctuaries carved into the cliffs.
  • Immerse yourself in the bustling Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where Matera's vibrant lifestyle unfolds, offering insights into local customs and traditions.
  • Stroll through the tranquil pathways of the Murgia Materana Park, a natural masterpiece bordering the city, showcasing Matera's scenic landscapes and biodiversity.
  • Navigate the narrow alleys and stairways leading to panoramic viewpoints, where the essence of Matera can be captured in breathtaking vistas that stretch across the cityscape.

Fun things to Celli do in Matera with kids

Matera offers a captivating adventure for families, brimming with activities that are as enriching as they are entertaining for children. Dive into the enchanting world of ancient cave dwellings with a visit to the Sassi di Matera, an exceptional place where kids can learn about history in an immersive, hands-on environment. Engage their imagination while exploring these extraordinary stone habitats, some of which are adapted into fascinating workshops and interactive exhibits dedicated to the city's past. For a breath of fresh air and a dose of nature, the Murgia Materana Park is an excellent outdoor space for a family picnic or a guided discovery tour, making it one of the best Matera excursions that combine fun and learning. Finally, the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario provides an insightful peek into traditional Materan life. Children will be fascinated to see how families once lived in these cave homes, complete with furnishings and tools from a life molded by the landscape.

Things to do in Matera with family

Exploring Matera with family unfolds a world of adventure and historical wonder. Begin with the Sassi di Matera, a fascinating warren of ancient cave dwellings that offers a tangible link to the past. Children and adults alike are enthralled by the labyrinthine streets that tell stories of a bygone era, making it a must-see destination for family-oriented Matera activities. For an educational yet thrilling experience, head to the interactive museums such as La Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, which gives an authentic glimpse into the traditional life of the ancient inhabitants. To capture the essence of what to do in Matera while embracing the great outdoors, Murgia Materana Park provides the perfect backdrop for picnics, nature walks, and wildlife spotting in the rugged Italian countryside. Together, these experiences offer families a unique combination of education, adventure, and priceless memories in one of Italy's most treasured locales.

Free things to do in Matera

Embrace Matera's captivating charm without spending a euro with an array of engaging free activities. Wander the ancient labyrinth of the Sassi di Matera, an awe-inspiring network of pathways, arches, and stairways that lead through this UNESCO World Heritage site, providing a free open-air museum experience of a historic cityscape. For those who revel in natural beauty, the Parco della Murgia Materana is a perfect destination, offering hiking trails amid dramatic landscapes, where families can explore the park's fascinating rock churches and prehistoric caves at no cost. Don't miss out on Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Matera's bustling main square, which combines the allure of modern city life with the backdrop of historic structures, a place where locals and tourists alike gravitate to soak in Matera's vibrant atmosphere. From cultural enthusiasts to adventure-seeking families, these locations underscore why Matera is treasured by all who meander through its enchanting streets and scenic vistas.

Cheap things to do in Matera

Discovering Matera on a budget is both easy and delightful, with numerous affordable attractions. Begin your journey at the Sassi di Matera, where simply meandering through the ancient cave districts provides a deep dive into history without a hefty price tag. The Sassi offer an enchanting walk through time amidst dwellings carved from limestone, and the view alone is priceless. Another cost-effective experience is visiting the Chiesa di San Pietro Caveoso, perched dramatically on the edge of a ravine, where both the architecture and the vistas can be enjoyed for a small donation. For a modest fee, you can immerse in the vivid depictions of the past at the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, which offers insight into traditional Sassi living. Matera's rich tapestry of culture and nature doesn't demand extravagance; these treasured experiences highlight the best Matera activities that are accessible without stretching your budget.

Things to do in Matera for couples

Matera, with its ancient charm and romantic ambiance, offers an array of activities perfect for couples. Enjoy a stroll through the Sassi di Matera, where intertwining stone paths and historic caves set the stage for a memorable walk hand in hand. It's a place that seems designed for affectionate whispers and shared discoveries, making it one of the most appealing Matera activities for lovebirds. Sunset at Belvedere di Murgia Timone provides an idyllic setting to watch the sky's colors dance over the city’s timeless backdrop, offering couples a free yet priceless experience. For those seeking a cozy retreat into Matera's culture, a visit to a wine bar in the Sassi to sample local Basilicata vintages is both romantic and affordable, pairing delightful flavors with the warm embrace of Matera's hospitality. Each attraction suggests an enchanting chapter in a love story, where the essence of Matera becomes a catalyst for romance and connection.

Things to do in Matera at night

When the sun sets on Matera, the city takes on a mystical charm, offering enchanting night-time activities for visitors. Begin with an evening walk through the Sassi di Matera, illuminated by the gentle glow of street lamps that cast a soft light on the ancient stonework, creating an evocative and romantic atmosphere. This nightly transformation turns the area into a labyrinth of haunting beauty, ideal for nocturnal photography or a tranquil promenade. Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Matera's bustling hub, remains lively with locals and tourists alike, where aperitivo culture thrives and the city's vibrant social life blossoms. Indulge in delightful local cuisine and regional wines at a traditional trattoria or an outdoor terrace cafe. For a mix of fun and culture, catch an open-air performance or a concert often held in Matera's squares or amphitheaters, where the fusion of music and historic surroundings creates a magical experience unique to Materan nights.