Make your own discoveries in Matera, an ancient city of rock-hewn buildings often used as the set of historical epic movies like The Passion of the Christ and Ben-Hur Remake. Walk the historic streets to explore the more than 100 churches built into the rocky surface of the city. Admire the magnificent Greek and Byzantine frescoes painted inside these cavernous houses of worship. Visit the Sassi ancient quarters, or tour the Romanesque-Apulian Cathedral. And along the way, learn the fascinating history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Available only with the Air Inclusive Package.
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Bari
Depart from home for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.
DAY 2: Arrive in Bari / Begin your Trip Extension
Upon arrival at the airport in Bari, Italy, claim your luggage and clear customs. A VBT representative will meet you and help you transfer (approximately 1 hour) to your centrally located Matera hotel. If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our driver know by calling or sending a text message to +39 333 85 12 310. The driver will be generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay and they will contact our transfer company.
VBT provides you with City Information to help guide your independent exploration of this unique city. At the hotel, our local expert will be available at a set time to answer your questions and offer an optional, private-guided walk to help you make the most your time here. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Hotel: Relais La Casa di Lucio or Hotel Sant' Angelo
DAY 3: Independent exploration of Matera
Matera has been made known in the U.S. by Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ, and bears unique signs of history and prehistory. In fact, it is considered one of the most ancient settlements in the world because it has been continuously inhabited as far back as the Paleolithic era. The Sassi di Matera (Stones of Matera) is the city's ancient quarters and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique architecture—homes and churches built directly into the rocky surface of the ancient town.
The town's legacy of 100 rock-hewn churches containing magnificent Greek and Byzantine frescoes adds to its historic allure.
The town is 1,312 feet (400 meters) above sea level and clings to a hillside, half-open like an amphitheater, before extending over a wide plateau. It can be explored by climbing the steps and narrow roads that meander inside the ancient quarters, which cover two distinct valleys. From the uppermost streets, you can admire breathtaking views.
During the day, visit the Romanesque-Apulian Cathedral for amazing views from the highest point in the city … visit the Sassi, ancient cave dwellings that were inhabited as recently as the 1950s … and explore various crypts and underground churches.
It's worth noting that our hotels (sister properties) are carved out of the tufa rocks. They are the result of a painstaking renovation of over 15,690 square feet (1,400 square meters) of the Sassi, including cave dwellings, pathways, stairways and courtyards. In all, the property consists of a total 35 historical dwellings, including a shared restaurant, main reception area and services. The property mirrors a typical Matera neighborhood; its rooms and courtyards are laid out on a steep slope and connected by stairways and landings.
Hotel: Relais La Casa di Lucio or Hotel Sant' Angelo
DAY 4: Independent exploration of Matera / Join VBT Air Package guests
After a morning on your own exploring more of Matera, and maybe following our optional self-guided walk of Sasso Barisano, transfer to our next night’s lodging. Your transfer is scheduled for 2:00 pm from the Matera hotel reception area.
For guests staying in Savelltri: Upon arrival, you have the rest of the day free to discover the peaceful countryside and relax at our luxurious 5-star masseria, where there are a number of amenities to take advantage of. You can play golf at the 9-hole course, get a massage at the Aveda hotel spa, spend the afternoon relaxing on the private sand beach or stroll through the large orchards, vineyards and olive groves. By contacting the hotel in advance, you may also book a cooking class, rent a boat or practice outdoor sports such as tennis, sailing and horseback riding. Whatever you choose, you will be amazed by the simple and quiet rhythm of life and the friendliness of local people here.
For guests staying in Ostuni: Upon arrival, meet the friendly staff of our hotel and settle in. At 5:30 pm, meet our local guide and stretch your legs on an orientation walk through the narrow, white-washed limestone streets of this small city. Admire the graceful towers, staircases, arches, balconies and carved doorways, many of which are adorned with colorful pots of flowers or garlic and tomato crowns left to dry in the sun. Dinner is on your own tonight.
VBT Air Package guests arrive throughout the day.
Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Alternate Hotel: Masseria Torre Maizza