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Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

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Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

On our way back from Puglia we have booked to stay in Matera at L'Hotel in Pietra. The receptionist there, Gianni? has been very helpful but I cannot keep ringing him for help. We speak Italian and so far the impression we have of Matera is not a good one. Is it just a tourist trap...?

I used TA plus other recommendations to find good restaurants. Luncanerie (telecom said number doesn't exist). No, because the place is closed and being completely refurbished. Gianni helped there.

Rivelli no reply for days so emailed but no response.

il Cantuccio same story.

Have emailed Taverna di Caveosa ...no one answers the phone.

What is going on in Matera/ Can anyone local explain please.

If all the good restaurants are closed can we still get a gelato at Gelida Voglia di Artigianeria dei Sassi in via del Corso?

We are told to book a guide. Is this necessary and if so who do you suggest. We prefer to listen to the story of Matera in English but Italian is fine too.

Matera in theory disappoints so hopping the real thing is worth the effort.

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1. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

A reply from the restaurant called Trattoria Caveoso (closed Wed,) so booked to eat cena there as they deserve 10 for effort.

My guide book says "Basilicata has never been one of the more welcoming regions of Italy" and it is not so long ago that Carlo Levi wrote about it....we'll find out in mid October.

If we are disappointed with the "feel" of Matera we will go out into the countryside and try Palazzo Margherita for a what could be a wonderful lunch in their Cinecitta' bar.

Any information about Matera still most welcome please!

Here & There
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2. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

Hi peterandanna,

Matera and the UNESCO Sassi District are delightful – I love the “feel” and history of Matera and waking in a sassi to views of sunshine on the Duomo!

www.italiantouristoffice.se/sv/docs/600.pdf

www.italiantouristoffice.se/sv/docs/576.pdf

www.italiantouristoffice.se/sv/docs/579.pdf

Basilicata, Rock Hard And Still Untamed:

nytimes.com/2000/…

I was NOT disappointed and certainly hope you are disappointed as well! :-)

Vagabonda

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3. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

The article, despite being 12 years old, remains pertinent and very interesting dear Vagabonda but the problem remains with finding excellent places to eat, where the owners are prepared to either answer the telephone or if they have websites, to respond to emails I send them written in Italian, asking which day they are closed or can I book for such and such a date?

Friends recently stayed at Locanda S.Martino and loved it but it was fully booked during the time we are in Matera, hence I conclude that the town is very much in business. The restaurants are perhaps used to tourists here today and gone tomorrow? Le Botteghe in Pz. San Pietro mentioned in the article is still there. Mixed T/A reviews and although there's no La Buca on T/A there is a Buca 19a for the trendier tourist!

Here in Umbria we are asked by the locals. Why go to Matera? We'll let you know.

Here & There
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4. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

Hi peterandanna,

Hopefully with such low expectations, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, but the question begs why go to Matera if you regard it in such low esteem?

Surely Matera’s Sassi attract tourists, especially since the UNESCO status and the filming of Mel Gibson's “The Passion of the Christ” – Generally places of value would attract tourists.

…viamichelin.com/web/Destination/Italy-Matera

Perhaps your hotel could book your dinner reservations for you.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday!

Vagabonda

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5. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

Forgot to mention that Christ Stopped at Eboli, the standard read before going to Basilicata, should be accompanied by Seasons in Basilicata by David Yeadon (Pub 2004 Harper Collins). The author and illustrator has written an entertaining "Year in the life of..." book with beautifully drawn illustrations. He claims that Carlo Levi inspired him to go there.

Here & There
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6. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

Thank you peterandanna - Will plan on Yeadon's Seasons in Basilicata prior to my next visit!

Vagabonda

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7. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

You quite rightly ask....then why go? Well we wanted to go because we live in Italy and there is much we have yet to see.

From a distance Matera disappoints because of the apathy on the part of the restaurant owners. Yes Gianni on Reception at Hotel in Pietra is bound to have recommendations but I have managed, where to eat in the whole of Puglia, using mostly T/A recommendations and sending emails in Italian.

This year in our part of Umbria (Perugia/Lago Trasimeno) restaurants have been falling over themselves to gain customers...hence my disappointment with the response from those in Matera.

Here & There
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8. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

For sure Bacilicata is not Umbria!

Your disappointment from a distance is understandable but perhaps with all due respect, Bascilicata isn’t so much about TA reviews.

Is it really apathy?

Or is it Mezzogiorno’s disinterest in technology and doing business in this way?

Reviews are utterly subjective, and that’s why it’s very important to read reviews with a critical eye for what appeals to you, and take rankings with a grain of salt.

Although this thread discusses reviews and hotels, the same applies to restaurants.

mazzaro,s sea palace hotel:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187892-i344-k3842…

Perhaps ask Gianni which trattorie most conjures memories of home-cooked meals, and then ask him to ring ahead for you.

I hear your frustration, but if you arrive expecting to match your experiences in Umbria, perhaps you will be disappointed.

I sincerely you won’t be disappointed....

Vagabonda

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9. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

Ciao Anna e Pietro, It took a while to me to visit Matera and i have nothing to regret but i liked to stay longer.

We stayed at Sassi di San Gennaro and dine at Il Cantuccio (3 years ago),

the recession in our country can hit everyone but we didn't get the feel of restaurants and tavernas opened seasonaly for tourists. If you want to do a bit of scanning, surf into the web "il mangione".

The drive to Matera -coming from Montesano sulla Marcellana- was very unique and relaxing especially when passing by the Monte Cotogno lake and the earth formations close by making you feeling lke being on the moon.

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10. Re: Planning a stay in Matera in October. Advice needed.

How wise and perceptive you are Vagabonda.

I have a friend from Umbria who has now started to go there on business and he echoes my sentiments.

It is interesting that you, who are I think based in Sicily, should respond...are there no Basillicata residents taking an interest out there?

Matera...basta ...will report back end of October.