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How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

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cheshire UK
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How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

I wrote as a private message to an area expert about this, but the reply has helpful advice anyway, so here it is (next para). Any other opinions MOST welcome. Extra query: One of the Matera hotels has a video that 'walks you through' how to get to the hotel. It's steep ! Downhill on the video but I'm worrying about uphill. I think I'll be fine, but not sure how my wife will be on steep cobbled roads in the heat. Is it a real pain navigating on foot around Matera? The hotel I'm looking at to stay is in the quieter Rione Casalnuovo. (Near the gorge?) Would it be difficult continually going back and to from here to nearer the centre fo restaurants, groceries etc? I would consider, say L'hotel In Pietra or similar - but would that be noisie, nearer to the centre? Any cave hotel advice welcome ! Must be a cave. (We are late 50s in age, reasonably fit but not super-fit.)

ORIGINAL MESSAGE - On October 27, 2011 3:13 PM cheshiredave wrote:

Next June. I have flights booked to/from Bari, 12 nights apart. I rushed as the flight were disappearing. Now I think a week or more in Matera is too long?

Also, we would like maybe 5 or 6 or 7 nights near the sea - VERY near the sea, with a sea view for my wife. But which seaside towns are best? Bear in mind that Bari and Matera are involved. I really did not want to hire a car, but am starting to think it is essential.

Thanks a million ! David H.

REPLY - Greeting cheshiredave! You should post in the forums so others would have the opportunity to offer information as well.

Puglia is really best seen by car – Puglia is lovely but you work a little harder to see the sights in Puglia.

http://www.viaggiareinpuglia.it/prov/BR/en

Not to say you couldn’t plan and travel via public transport, but it would very much depend on your destinations. You might hire the car for some of the time.

Remember that although Trenitalia serves Bari, many areas are served by the Ferrovie Appulo Lucane and the Ferrovie del Sud Est.

Bari is a tough town and not the place to drive!

Matera is phenomenal, but the sassi are compact. You would probably enjoy 2-3 relaxing days – Stay in a sassi hotel in the historic centre and soak the ambiance, tour the sassi and Duomo, enjoy the trattorie…

Parking is challenging in Matera - If you were to decide to hire a car, hire the car departing Matera, or return the car just prior to arriving in Matera. Take the Pugliairbus between Bari’s airport and Matera.

http://pugliairbus.aeroportidipuglia.it/

Depending on your arrival and departure times, you may also decide to end in Matera to better position for your departing flight.

Ostuni is lovely, not by the sea, but the nearby beaches are stunning. Monopoli is also a charming town.

Despite arriving in Bari and spending time in Matera, I would still encourage a visit to Lecce and since you’d like a week at the sea, consider Gallopoli or Otranto. Possibly begin in the far south.

Auguri! Vagabonda

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

Our experience is several years old now, so things such as parking might have changed, but at that stage one could drive into the hotel area if staying in the hotel, otherwise, not.

Nick and I aren't particularly fit but we walked up to the main town on one occasion and visited the church there. Look out for the one with skulls all around the door. It was closed when we were there unfortunately.

The place where the hotels and some of the cave attractions are situated is quite easy to walk, strolling around and popping into houses and churches open to the public. You view the Sassi area itself from the edge you see in the videos. You can walk as far as you like but we really didn't get to most of the modern town and just enjoyed our one night.

In a cave restaurant along the main street in the lower town I had my first ever truffle dish, pasta with truffles shaved over. Heaven!

I would think that, at the most, two nights is all you would need.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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2. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

Possibly of interest....

A Gothic Tour of Italy:

…nytimes.com/2011/…

Vagabonda

seattle
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3. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

We were in Matera last week. We used Nadia Garlatti as a guide. While it was very interesting, I would not want to stay there for more than 1 night, possibly 2. And although it is possible to circle the town in a relatively level road, the Sassi are built on quite steep terrain. The modern town of Matera seemed quite nice.

We loved Trani which is on the sea, seems like a vital town not totally dependent upon tourism but with lots of services. The Cathedral is gorgeous.

We stayed at Albergo Lucy and highly recommend. Trani is not far from Bari or Matera. You could easily make a day trip to Matera and Castle del Monte from there. Hope this helps.

London
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4. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

The sassi is a great place to stay, I would recommend 2/3 nights to be able to enjoy it at its best and see everything that you like to. It is a little tricky to get up and down the passageways, but if you allow yourself plenty of time then it won't be an issue as you can take it slowly and enjoy discovering the secret passages. The Hotel Locanda di San Martino is a good choice and has a lift so you can get up to the second floor easily, then it is just one more flight of stairs up to the top of the Sassi. Hotel Sassi is good too, also quite high up in the Sassi area so less walking upwards to the top. L'Hotel in Peitra is also high up so another good choice - all three will ensure you have a true cave experience making it most memorable.

There are a number of eating places in the Sassi area as well as at the top around the main square which offers you a lovely selection.

While there remember to get a guide, it is a fantastic way to see Matera and also ensure that you take the opportunity to visit the Cave of the Original Sin and the Rock Churches national park which is on the other side of the gorge at the back of the Sassi - you will need transport to get to both but it is much easier for a guide to arrange this as navigating around the road network is tricky. Contact Michele Cappiello at www.ferulaviaggi.it - he is a great guide and will arrange transfers as needed too.

Finally, for a time at sea, I recommend that you consider staying in Bernalda which is just 15 mintues from the coast. There is a lovely residence there, www.giamperduto.com I stayed there last week - quite charming and very relaxing with lovely view from the garden over towards Policorro which is on the coast. Policorro is also wonderful, try the OroHotel there, very smart and just 5 minutes walk to the sea front and set right alongside the Pine Forest.

So my recommendation is 2/3 nights in Matera, 2/3 nights in Bernalda, 2/3 nights in Policorro. A car is recommended and most importantly a satnav is essential to help you find your way around.

Enjoy! You'll find lots of information on www.discoverbasilicata.com/uk.

Kind regards,

Michelle

Here & There
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5. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

Really consider staying in the sassi district, especially if you plan to continually go back and forth....

Matera's Sassi Transform to Luxury Hotels:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187772-i3249-k406…

You had indicated that you wanted to spend time on the coast and that you preferred not to hire a car - Lovely as it may be, Bernalda probably wouldn’t be an optimal option for you....

Try this link…

http://www.discoverbasilicata.com/

Vagabonda

cheshire UK
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6. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

thanks a million for that. i'm pretty interested in albergo lucy and / or the town of trani and they have availability.

Here & There
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7. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

Trani is a delightful and pleasant coastal town, especially via public transport.

trekearth.com/gallery/…

Vagabonda

cheshire UK
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8. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

Thanks to everyone again, and for some private messages, too. The one thing I DO know is that I want to come back - and I've not even been there yet ! Too much to see in 12 nights. If I return, I can go a bit more downmarket, but travel round more and fit more seasides in. Even though Monopoli and Trani are more logical, I'm being drawn to Bernalda for a few peaceful days, with maybe a side trip to the coast, even if all the taxis will cost me an arm and a leg !

Here & There
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9. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

Bernalda has obviously won your heart, so if you don't mind not being on the coast, and the cost of the taxis - Enjoy!

Vagabonda

cheshire UK
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10. Re: How long in Matera? + nearby seaside towns side trips etc

Apologies to Vagabonda - I worded the last message badly - I AM taking your advice and staying mainly in Matera, probably with a side trip to Bernalda for a few days. And from Bernalda, maybe just 1 or 2 day trips to the sea to keep my wife happy.

So thanks again to everyone for the various pieces of advice - every single bit of the advice is very relevant to me in making the right decision for my 60th.